Have you been to or hosted a book tasting party? They are a lot of fun and a great way to build up enthusiasm and engagement with all kinds of different books!
My second graders were starting informational books, so I used non-fiction books for this Book Tasting party. But you can use all different genres of books. Most do use a variety of books after having introduced the different genres with students.
Set the Scene!
Change up your room and decorate! Not only were my second grade students excited when they peeked in my door that day, all the other students wanted to know what was going on in there! It didn't cost much to do it.
- Plastic tablecloths that can be used again.
- Placemats to designate spots for students to "taste" the books
- Flowers and flameless candles to set the atmosphere
- Snacks to munch as the students look through books
At each placemat, I set a different informational book. I used books of different levels that might appeal to my different readers. Each place also got a colored pencil for recording their thoughts and opinions. Each "taster" had a book menu and their own bag of snacks. I chose a snack that wouldn't be too messy and wouldn't ruin books (no chocolate or candy coatings that would melt). My students know this is special as usually we do not have food around our books at all. I wrote their names on the bags so there wouldn't be any mix ups!
Students wrote the name of the book and genre. They then read a page to determine if the book was a good fit for them or not. Then they decided if this was a book they would like to read or not. Students had to explain why they thought they would like the book or what made them think they would not. Last, they rated the book by coloring in stars. This student really wanted to read Weird Sea Creatures- they colored in all four stars and then added another one just to be sure I knew this is one they liked! They explained that they enjoyed reading about crazy things. I would say Weird Sea Creatures are definitely crazy things!
This student obviously did not find Weird Sea Creatures as fascinating as the other student. She only gave it two stars and said the pictures scared her! That's a valid reason for not wanting to read a book. No need to give anyone nightmares!
Students moved from place to place until all 6 books had been tasted. I set a timer for each time and set some fun music to play for a festive mood. After all the books had been reviewed, I went through to find their favorite book for them to read that week. Students learned new vocabulary and wrote summaries using key words. It was a lot of fun!
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