Monday, October 18, 2021

A Book Tasting for High School


Book Tastings! I was seeing more and more teachers use them as a way to connect students with books they may love. I knew I wanted our students to be a part of an exciting event like this so the planning began. There was nothing out there for high school students! Since I love bringing the excitement of elementary school to high school, I knew I had to adapt. I wanted our students to experience the joy and love of reading for only that purpose.

A stack of books, a menu of the titles, and a little cafe theme to set the mood. Students simply move around to each table and sample books from each that they may be interested in reading. They can look at the covers and read the book jacket or few pages out of the book. It is meant to help them find a new book to read or a new genre to explore.

I started by reading lots of young adult blogs and top 20 lists to get my own list going of books to offer at the book tasting. I partnered with my librarian and she had EVERY book on my list. She is the best at knowing what students will like! The next thing to think about is how to group the books. A lot of book tastings I saw were done by genre. I wanted something a little less structured, so I grouped them by themes. I called them "Today's Specials" and tried to have catchy titles for each!

I also wanted to transform the classroom into a little bistro so I ordered some twinkle lights, checkered tablecloths, tea lights, chef hats and aprons, and plastic silver trays. Dollar Tree never disappoints with silk flowers, vases, and ribbon to make centerpieces. I found a YouTube French bistro playlist that had the perfect cover photo and instrumental music. The teachers and I went all in with creating the Book Bistro feel!

I created a slide deck with all of the books that were being offered for the tasting. Each theme was a "special" and had books that went with that theme. I tried to keep it high interest and relevant for them. The slide deck included a book trailer or review for every book. I also linked to some of the blogs, Instagrammers, and YouTubers that I found so helpful for them to explore more. 

Books were stacked on the silver trays with "menus" and they gave Yelp reviews for each book. At each table, I also put a flip menu with each book's summary so they could read that as well. I included all these different access points to books so they could have it after the book tasting to look back on. 

I was able to do the book tasting with a teacher from every grade level, 9th grade to 12th grade, and can say they were all excited when they walked in and saw the room! The loved finding new books, seeing that Netflix shows they watch were actually books first, and finding other books by authors they knew. It was amazing to see these big kids having so much fun with an elementary idea! I even got a $5 tip! 

I hope you try this in your classroom or with your library media specialist. If you do, please feel free to make a copy of the files below to help get you started!

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