One of the most powerful things I can do for my students is work to promote reading for fun and helping students find books that they will enjoy. I feel like middle school is one of those key times in life where many students either take the path to become a life-long reader…or not. So I try to do as much as possible to talk to my students about what they’re reading and help them find books that will get them hooked!
One activity that I’ve found to be extremely successful this year is a round of “Book Speed Dating.” I know that this is an activity that many librarians have done for years…it’s tried and true for a reason!
Here’s how I’ve put together this activity:
- I pulled books that I frequently recommend from 7 different genres and put them in boxes at each of my 7 tables. It exposes readers to new genres that they may not seek out on their own.
- Students come in and decide on a ranking system they’ll use to rank the books they preview (scale of 1-10, five star ratings, etc.).
- I set a timer (like the one projected on the screen) for five minutes. For the first 30 seconds, they can peruse the books in the box at their table and select a book. Then, they spend 4 minutes reading the book to see if it hooks them. With 30 seconds remaining, they make note of the title of the book and give it a ranking.
- If at any time they find a book they want to check out, they can hold on to that book. All other books go back in the box, we rotate the boxes, and repeat this activity 4-5 times.
I always get great feedback from teachers and students with this activity…they love it! By the final round, about half of the students will typically have a book that they want to check out. And ALL of the students have spent some time with a book from a genre that’s outside of their typical reading comfort zone.
I did this several weeks ago with my 8th graders, and this week the 6th graders are having their turn. I especially like that I can customize the boxes for the classes/grades that I have visiting. And I LOVE that lots of book replenishing is needed after each class!
Do you do something similar to this? What other tried and true activities do you use for the love of reading?