Book tasting…

Book tasting? What? Eating books? How can you be suggesting something so ridiculous? 

NO.

Not that kind of tasting. A bit like wine tasting… you get a taste of new wine (or books in this case) before you commit to them. You get a whole host of wines (or books) to look at and you judge them and then eventually you pick the one you like the best. 

Book tasting is something that we’ve been wanting to try in school for a while. The reading co-ordinator in school saw it on Pinterest (or something similar) a while back and wanted to give it a go. The basic premise is expose the children to the different genres we have in the library, to some books that they won’t have read, and give them the chance to talk about them, look at them before choosing a new book/genre/author they may not have read before. 

She tried it with her class and they really enjoyed it! We have since rolled it out into Year 6 and there will be a Y5 and Y4 book tasting before the end of the term. 

We had a staff meeting about this last week and it was wonderful!

On each of the tables was a different genre of texts (non-fiction, WW2, mystery, adventure, poetry, general fiction, historical) with some books from the genre in. We’re very fortunate in that we have an incredible library, a wonderful reading co-ordinator and lots of pro-reading members. Each of the children are given a “book tasting menu” where on the front they write their name and circle their favourite genres of texts – in the hope that by the end of the session they’ve chosen something from a different genre. The children are given 5-7 minutes at each different table looking at the books (reading the title, looking at the cover, reading the blurb/first few pages) and talk to the people around the what they like/dislike and if they would like to read it. It was great because the children are encouraged to give their honest opinion and they were told that it was OK if they didn’t fancy that book, or if that cover didn’t appeal to them as long as they could justify their opinions. They had to fill in their menu which asked them Title? Author? What do you like about this book? Do you like the cover? Would you like to read it? Read a few pages/the blurb, do you still want to read it? Once they’ve had the 5-7 minutes on the table they are then encouraged to move around to the next table and repeat the process – choosing another book on that table and discussing it with the people around them. Once you get to the end of the session the children get to pick 3 of the books to take out from the library (not at the same time, obviously). 

We’ve had lots of positive feedback from the book tasting sessions we’ve done so far… Year 6, Year 3 and the teaching staff had 2 sessions too. I thoroughly enjoyed when we did it as a staff. I think it’s a wonderful idea. Anything that gets children reading is great in my opinion. I am the biggest pro-reading for children supporter in the world. 

What reading strategies have you used in your school? Have any worked a treat? Have you tried book tasting?

S x

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