Friday, April 17, 2015

Book Tastings with Sixth Grade

I had wanted to have a Book Tasting session with students for a long time, but just hadn't had the time or opportunity.  I finally had the opportunity to host a book tasting for the sixth grade reading classes at the end of January.

There are many different ways to host Book Tastings.  I think one of the best things about it is that you can really tailor your lesson to meet the needs of the age group, the project, or the purpose.  For this tasting, we just wanted the students to find books that they would want to read for pleasure.

We started by pulling hundreds of books from the Young Adult Fiction section, as well as from non-fiction, graphic novels, and biography.  We grabbed titles with high interest in a variety of reading levels and a variety of formats.  Books were set up on several book carts and placed around the library.

After explaining the process, students were allowed to browse any of the carts to select a book. We encouraged them to taste one book at a time for a few reasons: to avoid "hogging" of the "good" books; to ensure they browsed several different titles and carts; to be open to taking recommendations from classmates; and to encourage movement throughout the lesson so they weren't just stationary.

Students made notes on their Book Tasting Menus while they worked.  We used the menus as an assessment tool as well as so that they had a record of the books they tasted for future reference.

Students were allowed to check out books that day, and as books were chosen from the carts we replenished them with others.  Throughout the lesson I circulated and talked to the kids about their choices, made recommendations, and kept them on task.  It was as fun for me as it was for them.

The feedback I got from the students was about what I expected: many students said they loved the exercise and asked when we could do it again; some students said they didn't enjoy it and don't plan to check out any of the books they tasted; and many students said they don't normally read for pleasure, but had discovered at least one book that interested them.

Next Monday, one of the high school reading teachers will be hosting a Poetry Tasting in the library for the students to peruse poetry anthologies in preparation for a project they'll be doing over the next few weeks.  I adapted the Book Tasting Menu to suit her project.  I'm excited to see how it goes and how the students enjoy it!


  1. Hello,
    In your Book Tasting Menu I see the front page, the Appetizer and the Entree. Is there more pages? Or is that it? Also, how many students do you allow at a time to participate? Im interested in doing this...

  2. Hi! Yes, on the back page is the Dessert. :) Same format, similar prompts. I did these book tastings with classes of 25-30 middle schoolers, but you could really do it with any size group. Just make sure you have plenty of books to choose from. I pulled 2x as many books as students. As books were checked out throughout the day, I pulled more and added to the carts.

    I did these book tastings with the goal of pleasure reading in mind, but you could certainly do tastings with books of a specific genre or content area subject instead. Students in a social studies class could taste books on historical topics for a research paper - it would be a fun way to preview new content and help them narrow down their topics.

  3. Marvelous! Okay - thanks! You have some great ideas! I am looking over your Blog =)
    Many great ideas that I love! This is my first year as a Library Clerk, after working as a Teaching Assistant for 11 years. Although, this isn't my first stunt in the Library, I did do it for 2 years about 13 years, Im rusty! heehee! Thank you for your response!
    Im sure I will pick your brain some more!

  4. Is there a way to download this or purchase it?