I have been reading about Book Tastings in libraries and classrooms for a while, and this year, I decided to give it a try. I can’t even begin to list all of the blogs, tweets, and Pinterest pins that inspired me. Once I “sampled” all of the amazing book tastings of my PLN, I created my own. My gratitude to others for their inspiration is immeasurable.
My first step was to assemble my own menu for the event. So many fellow librarians and teachers created a variety of menus and I incorporated many of their ideas to create my own.
Next, I used the idea of a list of adjectives for the students to use. I loved this idea to support the students’ written work and discussions. I copied it two sided and placed it in a clear frame so everyone at the table could view it. I also created etiquette signs to remind them of what was expected.
Then, I very strategically chose five different genres for each table that I knew were not popular genres in the library. I also made sure the levels were on a continuum of reading levels as well as reflecting Black History Month. All of the books were arranged on a “silver platter.” I purchased these at the party store – they looked really expensive, but they weren’t.
Each table was set with red and white checked tablecloths and battery operated candles. This really helped build excitement when the students entered the café! I dressed in a chef’s hat, apron and red bow tie which also helped. (I was in an especially crafty mood, so I stenciled the name of the café on the apron.)
The one thing that I did that I didn’t see on other blogs was how to get this event started. I created a power point slide show in Google drive to review genres, call numbers, reading book jackets/sleeves, and to set goals for the lesson. Before we started tasting, we reviewed how to summarize, evaluate, and collaborate. I shared with the students that I was more interested in them having meaningful discussions and I encouraged them not to focus on finishing.
Once the students began, I was in awe of their enjoyment and attention to task. My principal observed the lesson and here’s what he said:
“Every step of the restaurant was planned in detail–menus as activity and assessment, discussion as focus, books in different genres placed on tables that would entice the group of students at each table to explore across genres. The visuals, both on the table and on the Smartboard, and the rules listed in the room, clearly showed what each step was for the students. This allowed the students to focus on the books and not waste time confused about the structure of the activity.”’
I’m so glad I decided to do this! The students loved it, and most importantly, they were excited to try a new genre! Kids were excited about reading! I couldn’t ask for anything more!!
Here are just a few of the teachers/librarians who inspired me.
How to Host a Book Tasting with Jo Nase http://elementarylibrarian.com/podcast14/
Fiction Book Tasting http://mrsnthebookbug.blogspot.com/2014/02/fiction-book-tasting.html
Mrs. Lodge’s Library: “Book Tasting”
The Unquiet Librarian: Book Tasting posts
Barrow Media Center “Book Tasting”
Miss Liberry Teacher “Book Tasting”
Tree Frog Blog Book Tasting