Teachers Guide

Shelftalkers – Teachers Guide

Shelftalkers was established by SLAV in 2021 as a platform for young people, at both primary and secondary school level, who love books and reading to share written reviews with their peers, and hopefully engage others in their love of books. Shelftalkers is also designed to connect publishers with their target audience, by offering an opportunity for publishers to share advance titles for review by student readers in schools, under the supervision of teachers, librarians and library staff. We hope that Shelftalkers becomes an exciting engagement tool for libraries and staff to facilitate discussion of both established and forthcoming titles and ways to promote better reading and writing in your school library.

Shelftalkers hopes to empower young readers, to give them a sense of ownership and autonomy in sharing their thoughts about what they read and what is being published onto the market for them. It is our hope that Shelftalkers will encourage and engage young readers in reading and writing, beyond the classroom.

Shelftalkers is a website maintained and moderated SLAV staff. SLAV communicate directly with publishers who wish to send review copies to students in schools and ensure that interested schools receive titles for review.

All student reviews, of books both new and old are welcome for submission. We welcome reviews for any and all books your students have enjoyed reading and wish to review. We ask that these reviews please be submitted in English.

In the instance of reviews for forthcoming titles, where a publisher has sent a title ahead of publication for review by students, it is the responsibility of the participant school to engage and select students to read books and submit reviews of no more than 100 words, and a rating out of five stars, by the date provided by the publisher. These reviews will then be published on the Shelftalkers website. In this instance, students are allowed to keep the book they have reviewed.

Guidelines and writing prompts to assist students with review writing have been provided on the Shelftalkers website and we encourage you to download these free resources for use with your students.

All queries are welcome, and feedback encouraged. Please contact shelftalkers@slav.org.au

Book review assessment/submission checklist

  1. Name and year level of student submitting the review –
  2.  Have they included all the basic details of the book?
    •  Title 
    • Author 
    • Publisher 
    • ISBN 
    • Pub. date 
  3.  Is the review 100 words in total? (besides basic information above)
  4.  Is the review well written? (Without spoilers?)
  5.  Does the review give a basic overview of the plot of the story?
  6.  Does the review tell readers enough about the book to potentially engage other readers?
  7. Is the review overly critical? It is important to be honest if a reviewer did not enjoy a book, but the review needs to be gentle and constructive, not harshly critical or overly negative. If so, please discuss with your student. If they wish to amend their review, you might have some suggestions to help them. 
  8. How many stars (out of 5) were given to this book?