Today I tried out an library experience that I had never hosted before...a book-tasting party! The students had a blast reviewing genres, taking "bites" of their books, writing recommendations, and creating bookmarks. I did this with a 7th grade class, but I think you can modify the activity to work with pretty much every grade level. It was also be a great event for a public library to host for children and adults.
Here is the procedure:
1. Greet the students as if they are visiting a restaurant. I wore an apron, made a sign, decorated
the tables, and played classical music.
I bought aprons for my paraprofessional and myself in our school color to wear during the lesson. During a visit to the local Dollar Tree I found balloon weights to use as centerpieces, "silver" platters to serve the books on, and oak tag to transform into placemats. My new best friend is the personal Scotch thermal laminator that I bought at Target for $20. You can find boxes of lamination pouches on Amazon at low prices. The Tolsby picture frames from IKEA are the perfect size for table signs. I listed the "Chef's Specials" (procedure for the lesson) on each to keep my students on task. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime there are thousands of songs and musical selections that you can stream for free.
2. Review the various genres of fictional there are in your library.
There are 9 different genres in my library: realistic fiction, historical fiction, romance, adventure, sports, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery. Each novel has a genre sticker on the spine, except for realistic fiction. The students listed all 9 genres on their "menus" and explained which was their favorite and why.
3. The students "tasted" three books at their table.
The students had only 3 minutes to explore their books and to complete the graphic organizer. Ideally, the students should have 5 minutes. The online stopwatch website comes in handy to keep the students (and me!) on pace.
The last 3 procedures took place simultaneously.
4. The students checked their book out with either me or my paraprofessional.
5. The students wrote a short book recommendation on a padlet Padlet is a web tool that has been around for a while, but it is so simple to find new ways to use it. I created a padlet for each class today. Their English teacher can use this information when recommending to her students, and to better understand her students' literary preferences. Remind your students to only enter their first name for privacy so you can share your padet through social media.
6. Whenever I visit Lowe's or Home Depot I always take home a bunch of paint swatches. For this lesson, I directed my students to create a bookmark by writing 3 questions that they can reflect on while reading. They could develop their own or copy any of the 20 guided questions for fiction that I had put on the back of the placemat.
Overall, the lesson worked well. There are many ways to modify it depending on grade and abiity level. Here are some forms that you might find handy:
Chef's Specials "Agenda"
Guided Questions for Reading Fiction
Kristina A. Holzweiss
Ed Tech School Librarian