One challenge I face as a school librarian is to make sure my students are exposed to a wide variety of books. So when I read Andy Plemmons’ post about book tasting (who was inspired by Buffy Hamilton), I knew it was something I wanted to try with my students. For my 3rd grade class of 20 kids, I piled a stack of books on each of our four library tables, making sure to include various fiction genres as well as nonfiction and biography titles, all covering a range of reading levels.
We began with a brief review of how to select a book: read the blurb on the back, the inside flap, and several of the pages. For the book tasting event, students selected a book, recorded its title and call number, took brief notes, and rated each book anywhere from 1 to 5 stars on a form I created.
Students were allowed three minutes per book. I used a timer, projected on a large screen, to alert students to move on to another book. The large assortment of book choices as well as the time limit really helped student motivation. I was impressed that my typically chatty 3rd grade students fell silent whenever the clock started it’s 3-minute countdown.
In all, each student “tasted” 10 books. I loved seeing them excited about their 5-star “finds”. When a student discovered one of the I Survived series books, he told me that he planned on reading all of them. In fact, every student found at least one book to check out, but most students found several so that I decided to ignore the usual checkout limit of three books. What a perfect way to start our winter break!
Please watch Eliana and May explaining the book tasting process.