First graders walked into their classroom a few weeks ago to find a delicious selection of books set up for them restaurant style, ready for them to taste! "Book Tastings" are happening all across the country, giving students a chance to stretch their literary comfort zones and engage in new types of books they might not be drawn to on their own in the library. Lower School Head Librarian Yapha Mason decided to try it out at Brentwood and, with the help of 1st Grade teachers Krissy Loo and Andrea Demarest, the event was very well-received!
As described on the We Are Teachers website, the basic setup is this: "Students enter a restaurant-like setting. (Include classical music playing in the background, vases of flowers, tablecloths, place mats, and napkins on the tables, if you're going for a fancy atmosphere.) Each table is set with a book at every plate and an extra stack of books in the center." Students take a seat and try the book in front of them. Students record the title and genre of their book on a note-catcher. After checking out the front and back covers and inside flaps, students spend a few minutes browsing through the book to develop their first impressions. When time (about 3–5 minutes) is up, students write down observations and make note of whether or not they want to add the book to their wish list. For the next round, students either return their books and choose another one, rotate seats at the same table, or move to a different table. The process repeats as many times as your total allotted time for the activity allows.
The 1st Grade students and their teachers really enjoyed this format for getting excited about books and reading in general. As these students are still learning to read—instead of reading to learn—they can let their imagination and interests take them on a journey to new places in books that spark their interest. Watch for more Book Tastings in the future as we explore ways to make this activity developmentally appropriate throughout the Division. After all, books are a lot like food—you won't know if you like something until you try it!