At the end of another year in the library/media center I find myself thinking about our student engagement. Since our library/media center covers grades six through twelve I am constantly looking for new ways to engage our student population.
This year as I attended a workshop I heard about a Book Tasting. It piqued my interest and as in anything new we try we put our own spin on it. So in talking to the faculty about it I decided on the categories. Then as the students entered they selected a paper disc from a tray and sat the table assigned on the disc. This allowed students the freedom not to sit next to their best friend. I had different sessions and selections for the middle school and high school students.
The students were given blank bookmarks to write any book titles they were interested in and two to three minutes at each table. The students rotated when time was up. What were the genres? Ah that was the tough thing to narrow down. But I settled on historical fiction, sports, animal stories, myths (teacher requested), and of course it would not be complete without vampire and zombie books. The surprise genre was non-fiction and to my surprise that is what most of the students listed on the bookmarks. Informational text (non-fiction) was the hit. Of course the non-fiction books were always available but the students just never considered non-fiction for recreational reading.
What did I learn from this? To recommend non-fiction and to have a display for students to select from. So as I close out the year I am happy with this new event and for a principal that encourages our staff to try new ideas.
Next year? I think we might try a Literacy Fair and being here at ISTE I have come away with some great ideas for the fair!