When it comes to reading, just like eating, some kids have pickier palates than others. The perfect way to pique their appetites for a good read is to have a book tasting! It’s a great way to let young readers sample different authors, genres, and series.
SOURCE: Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching
Very similar to the popular read-dating activity, book tasting gives students the opportunity to sample some juicy reads in a short period of time and come away with a wish list of titles. No more choruses of “I don’t have anything to read!”
Your book tasting can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like. It can be set in your school’s media center, cafeteria, or in your classroom. The basic setup is this: Students enter a restaurant-like setting. (Include classical music playing in the background, vases of flowers, tablecloths, place mats, and napkins on the tables, if you’re going for a fancy atmosphere.) Each table is set with a book at every plate and an extra stack of books in the center. Students take a seat and “sample” the book in front of them.
SOURCE: Teaching With a Mountain View
Students record the title and genre of their book on a note-catcher (see the resources below for free and low-cost ones). After checking out the front and back covers and inside flaps, students spend a few minutes browsing through the book to develop their first impressions. When time (about 3–5 minutes) is up, students write down observations and make note of whether or not they want to add the book to their wish list.
SOURCE: Miss Liberry Teacher
For the next round, students either return their books and choose another one, rotate seats at the same table, or move to a different table. The process repeats as many times as your total allotted time for the activity allows.
Book tastings are a fun, easy way to get kids out of their comfort zones and engaged in new genres, authors, and styles. After all, books are a lot like food—you won’t know if you like something until you try it!
To read about how book tastings worked in other teachers’ classrooms, check out these blogs:
- The Unquiet Librarian
- Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching
- Teaching With a Mountain View
- Miss Liberry Teacher
See how students reacted to the book-tasting experience in videos from Barrow Media Center.
Finally, for free or low-cost book-tasting resources, check out these blogs and TPT stores:
Have you cooked up a book tasting in your classroom? We’d love to hear about it in our WeAreTeachers Chat group on Facebook. WeAreTeachers Chat is a place to post questions, share a laugh or an idea, and connect with new teacher friends.
Main image by @monsterwranglermike on Instagram.