I recently read a post about book tasting at Andy Plemmon’s blog for Barrow Media Center. I was intrigued by the idea, just as he must have been when he read about it at Buffy Hamilton’s Unquiet Librarian blog.
I used information from both posts to create my own version of Book Tasting for 2nd and 3rd graders. I targeted these grades for several reasons. They are more transitional readers. I wanted to find some chapter books that have potential, but are often overlooked and picture books with depth for students to browse. It also worked best in my schedule to target these two grades.
Each class that signed up spent 30 minutes in the library. Students sat a simply decorated table with a stack of books and a workpage. I quickly reviewed how to preview a book using the back and inside flaps, browsing the pages, looking at pictures, etc. Students were given the job of browsing through their stack for new books, preview them, and rate them.
When I let them loose students jumped right into their stack of books! It was exciting to see how quickly they found books on the tables that are often overlooked on the shelves.
At the end, each student was able to check out a 5-star book from their table. I waived checkout limits for the event. Many students wanted to check out the same books so I had hold slips ready. Many students filled them out to leave with me so that they could have the book ‘next.’
I did decorate for this event. I thought I kept it simple, but it turned out looking really fancy! I got my flowers and vases at Dollar Tree and spent all of $12. I bought a roll of checkered table cloth from a party store, but when I brought it to school our library assistant let me know that there was a stack of cloth ones in our kitchen. We used those instead. If we didn’t have the cloth ones I think I would have skipped the table clothes. There is no way that it would have worked (for me) to cut and put out plastic cloths for each of 8 classes! I would have been driven crazy with the setup. But the flowers were a great touch and so easy to do. If the classes had been scheduled back to back, it might have worked.