Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interesting stats on my booktalk last week...

Okay, so I went with some information gathering technology during this booktalk to see what I could gather about the readers here on my campus.  This was done in a day (booktalked two days with a colleague) and they were mostly freshmen and sophomores
12 classes
391 students
189 girls
202 boys

Books on the list:
Book trailers on the list:

The top five picks for girls:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (book trailer)
Shelter by Harlan Coben (book trailer)
You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
Compromised by Heidi Ayarbe
The Poisoned House by Michael Ford ( book trailer)

The bottom five picks for girls:
The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolfe
Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon
Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Ahhhh, the girlies.  They will read guy books, girl books, non-fiction.  You can tell from the top five that they run the gamut of genres.  Most of the titles in the bottom five were interesting as well.  Three of them were pitched for guys and girls but had a more grisly vibe to them.  Girls don't seem to want to read about man-eating horses or zombie pit fights.  Interestingly enough, not all of the book trailer books made it into the top ten for the girls.  Most of them did, but Variant by Robison Wells wasn't in their top ten.  As for Bad Taste in Boys?  See the comment I made in the guys section below.  Applies here as well.

The top five picks for guys:
Divergent by Veronica Roth (book trailers)
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (book trailer)
Shelter by Harlan Coban (book trailer)
Trapped by Marc Aronson
How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg

The bottom five picks for guys:
You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
Bunheads by Sophie Flack
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

It seems that boys never lose faith in non-fiction.  The only two non-fiction titles were in the guys top five.  My personal opinion is that when they get older, it becomes more difficult for guys to really find enjoyable non-fiction titles, which is why I always include 2-3 titles in the booktalk.  Of the top ten titles for guys, all five  booktrailers made it, which may show they boys tend to connect visuals to the choice of books.  And the bottom picks?  All girls books, with the exception of Freak Magnet, which is told in alternating guy and girl voices, where the main character is considered a "freak."  The only caveat I would have is Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris, which was the very last book talked, and if we ran out of time, I had to give it a hasty talk and hope they kids could hear me as they exited en masse out of the lecture hall.

TOP 10 BOOKS FOR ALL STUDENTS (in order of popularity):
1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children  by Ransom Riggs (book trailer)
2. Shelter by Harlan Coben (book trailer)
3. The Poisoned House by Michael Ford (book trailer)
4. Divergent by Veronica Roth (book trailer)
5. Trapped by Marc Aronson
6. How they Croaked by Georgia Bragg
7. Kick by Walter Dean Myers
8. You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
9. Compromised by Heidi Ayarba
10. Wither by Lauren de Stefano (book trailer)

Would you look at that?  The top four picks had book trailers.  Another point of interest was the top 10 was divided right down the middle for traditional booktalking and the use of book trailers.  That's why I usually  incorporate a 3:1 ratio of traditional to trailers. 

So there's my little experiment using Google Forms and the cooperation of 391 students.  I really liked this and could go on about different genres, how the books were talked (summary vs. audience participation), length of time for each book, order of book in the presentation et all, but this is just the general gist.  Hope you enjoyed my rant : )


Pamela Thompson said...

Hey, Naomi,
I'm really glad you did this. It proves my theory. The books I show book trailers and give a little intro for are the ones that fly out the door. Me, just booktalking, less successful. I agree that the guys like the visuals!funny that the girls didn't go for Bad Taste in Boys which I thought was hilarious!

Fran Bullingotn said...


Thanks for sharing how you gathered data to analyze the success of your booktalks.

I have never done anything that formal (but sure want to now!). I usually booktalk 4-6 books at a time. Of those, only one is a trailer.

After the booktalks, students have time to check out those (and other) books. When they leave the library, I make notes to myself on the success of my booktalks based on what books still remain on my booktalk display table.

I usually have 3-4 copies of each title I am booktalking. If no copies of a title were checked out, I know I need to reconsider that booktalk. Do I need to change it, or is the book one that doesn't have a wide enough appeal and needs to be dropped?

I have a chart I use when choosing books to booktalk for classes to ensure that I offer a wide range of books. I have to admit, though, that I have never included nonfiction. I KNOW boys prefer it, so why haven't I included it? I don't read as much nonfiction as I need to to prepare for these booktalks.

Thank you for helping me to reconsider my booktalks - hopefully they will be even more successful next time!

naomibates said...

Fran it was pretty easy to do and I plan on continuing this. I book talked this year also with a fellow librarian in the district which helped a lot, the kids got a different variant of traditional and I didn't have to try to push my reading as hard as I have in the past. But I have all of the books and even got interested in some Lindsey talked!
Pamela I couldn't believe Harris's book was as well received too. Love the cover and it was funny!
I thought about posting my actual talking points on the books but decided not to....hmmmmm might reconsider.

Terrie H said...

This would be great data to share with administration!

Danmark said...

SHELTER is a perfect book for a teenaged boy you want to read more--he will not be able to put it down, not even to play Guitar Hero. (I am planning to buy it for my nephew for his birthday.)

It is also a perfect book for fans of Harlan Coben and anyone who likes compelling, fast-paced, action-filled books. I read it very quickly indeed.

Mickey Bolitar (Myron's nephew, for those who are Myron Bolitar fans) is new to school, but he has a sweet, pretty girlfriend, Ashley. She is particularly precious because his mother is in his rehab and his father just died. So, when Ashley goes missing, he is determined to find her.

When a mysterious crone tells him his father is still alive, he has to look into that, too. Funny thing is, these mysteries may not be mutually exclusive.

Mickey makes some unusual friends and some loutish enemies, but fortunately he knows how to take care of himself (Myron's blood is thicker than water, and Coben is still their creator). What Mickey discovers about Ashley, his father, and himself makes this book both gripping and poignant.