Invitation to a Book Tasting

The tables are covered with red checkered tablecloths,  enticing books are neatly stacked in each basket, flameless candles add just the right lighting, enjoyable music plays and the classroom hums with excitement! Sixth graders are serving up five engaging books for a book tasting.This is definitely one of my favorite parts of my job as a literacy coach, sharing the wonderful learning experiences that teachers provide for their students.

Mrs. Hayes’ sixth-grade class has invited me in to take part in their book tasting. Fortunate for me there was an open space at one of the tables so I was able to join in on the fun. The students are starting a fiction book club and they are having an opportunity to preview the five new titles before making their top three choices.

The students sat in groups of five each with their Chromebooks open to their Google Classroom. In the center of the table was a basket with five copies of the same title and a small polished stone next to one of the students. The festivities began when students were directed to each take a book from their basket and the student closest to the polished stone read aloud the summary on the back of the book as the other students listened in carefully.

Next, the students directed their attention to the Reading Café board (smart board).  Mrs. Hayes had organized interactive book reviews for the students to gain additional information on each title. It began with Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt with an interactive book trailer that had been created by a sixth-grade student. After that, students read the review for Fish in a Tree located in their Google Classroom.

Then, the students rotated baskets and started the process again with their new text. An interview with the author was then shared from  The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin. Students were reminded that they will be recording their top choices into a Google form when they are done. The third book trailer for One for the Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, is shared and it is evident that students are starting to make choices already as the excitement in the classroom builds. Engagement, choice and reading enjoyment the main ingredients for a perfect book tasting!

The fourth text, Ugly, by Robert Hoge was introduced by sharing a very powerful TED talk with the author. The last book trailer the students viewed summarized the story, Tangerine, by Edward Bloor. In the middle of discussing the new titles a student, at my table, gave me a book suggestion from his last book club. I was happy to add it to my reading stack!

The last part of the process as they ate their snacks was to add their top three choices to the form. Mrs. Hayes said, “Students often ask to read one of the other choices after a round of book clubs are completed after they have heard their classmates get excited about their club choices.” Each child was engaged as they transitioned into 20 minutes of independent reading time.

Next steps for the sixth graders will be creating their “reading space” for their club to meet each day. They have the opportunity to use the flexible learning space with a variety of tech tools, comfortable seating, and writing opportunities. Stay tuned for part 2 as we follow these amazing readers!

2018 SOL #11


11 thoughts on “Invitation to a Book Tasting”

    1. Agreed! I enjoy my role as the literacy coach, but sometimes miss working with students to share in these type of wonderful learning experiences.

  1. This was a great post to get inspired by as a literacy coach and someone who loves supporting book club groups when possible if that fits my coaching role. Thanks for the walk-through of this.

  2. I love this! It really emphasizes the point that choosing WHAT to read needs to take careful thought and time. How lovely this teacher carried out every last detail to make this a special moment for the kids. I especially love the book trailers that are made by the students. I’ll definitely be using that one!

  3. Elementary teachers often amaze me w/ the elaborate lessons they craft and the details, such as the table cloths and baskets, they bring to the lesson setting.

  4. I love transformations. I did something like this when we were studying authors purpose we used PIE to determine the author’s purpose. Of course I had to bring in pie for my class they are still asking if we can study author’s purpose again so I’ll bring in pie again.

  5. This is an interesting idea I hadn’t heard of yet. I look forward to sharing with my colleagues. Maybe they’ve been using this format and I just didn’t know.

  6. I love the idea of a book tasing, it sounds so elegant! I am going to share this with my team, we just may want to borrow an idea or two!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Keep writing! We are glad your writing with us!

  7. This is how we create readers! The polished stone idea is a new one for me. I can see how I could incorporate that in several ways. And what a wonderful invitation for you!

  8. I liked this teacher’s idea of book tasting. For some students, choosing a book is really hard! With this activity, students engage with other readers and make choices. Love it.

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