Last week, the 8th grade reading classes came into the library for a Book Tasting. A book tasting, if you’re not familiar with it, provides students with an opportunity to sample a variety of different books in a short period of time. This idea certainly isn’t mine, there are several examples of book tasting ideas online, but I was happy to take the main concept and give it a try. The 8th grade reading classes were a perfect group to start with since they were about to begin a new unit focusing on fantasy and dystopia books. The students needed to find a free read for the unit so we decided to pull a bunch of books and give the students a chance to sample a few during the session.
During the class period, students came in and before heading to a table, listened to a brief overview of what was going to happen. To help set the mood and make the event more festive, we put tablecloths on the tables, made placemats, and added table decorations. When it was time to start, they sat at a table and had about 5 minutes to choose a book on their table, read the inside flap or back cover, and then read the first few pages of the book. They also had a pamphlet they needed to fill out containing information about the book. After about 5 minutes, they rotated to another table and repeated the process. During the class period, the students were able to go through 5 rotations. At the end, they completed a My Top 3 sheet so they could check out those books down the road. We did not let students check out the books immediately because we needed them for other classes, but once every class came in for their book tasting, students could come back in and check out their favorites.
Overall, the students seemed to enjoy the event. They were really into it and found that it was a fun way to experience several books in a short period of time. The plan for the future is to do these again during lunch, with students signing up to participate. We will probably have different genres at each table to get kids to try a variety of books, which from what I’ve read, is typically how Book Tastings are done. Regardless, the event was fun, the teacher and students enjoyed it, and it brought an exciting event to the library.