A great way for students to get use to public speaking and a sure-fire way for you to see if students understand what they read is to incorporate book talks into your curriculum. Book talks utilize reading, writing, listening and speaking skills that directly relate to any language arts curriculum and state standards.(I listed the state standards that applies with this lesson).
Included are specific guidelines you can print and give each student to follow, a rubric for you to use when grading book talks, and an example of a written book talk (you can give as a handout for Interactive Notebook and also use as an oral book talk).
This is a great book project to use as a daily 2 minute student-led activity (schedule a different student a day) or I also scheduled book talks the day before a school holiday where students and you need a break from the norm. Kids love it and they get each other excited to read new books.