Recently, I held a book tasting in the media center for my sixth graders. These students often seem settled in their reading preferences and find it difficult to choose a different type of book. I wanted to expose them to the many great books in our media center that they may not discover on their own. The first step was decorating the media center to make it feel more like a fancy restaurant and less like school. So I arranged the tables at an angle in front of the Promethean Board, which displayed the fire from www.blazinglogs.com. I put white (plastic) tablecloths on the tables. Each table held a vase with poinsettias and two battery powered tealight candles. Before each class arrived, I set the table with a place setting/recording sheet (see below) at each chair. I also connected my iPhone to a speaker and played the Count Basie station on Pandora.
As students arrived, I welcomed them to the Library Cafe and explained that would would be sampling some of the finest books our media center has to offer. I led them to the tables and told them to seat themselves with people who would not get them kicked out of the restaurant and allowed students to seat themselves while I prepared the books. I pulled the books from the shelves in advance and grouped them according to the needs of each class. To serve the books to students, I placed them on a silver tray and brought them to students at their tables. The kids loved being served, so I will definitely do this again. But next time, I will have something on the table for the kids to do while they are waiting for their books.
Students were given directions to read the front and back covers and a page or two from each book. Then they silently traded books with someone at their table. After five minutes, students moved to the next table and sampled the books there. As students found a book they enjoyed, they wrote the title and call number on the sheet below so that they could check the book out later. I also encouraged students to add these titles to their personal lists on Destiny in case they lost them.
Students were given time at the end to check out books and many of them did! I am hoping our students will continue to check out new books.