Throughout the year, our students will often get stuck in a book rut. Either they are reading the same books and authors over and over or they don’t know what to read next. As teachers, we want to introduce them to new genres, authors and book series. Purposely setting aside time for students to preview books will give them the opportunity to find new reading material that they might not have pulled out of the library on their own.
Some teachers call it a book tasting or blind date with a book, but a book pass is the simplest way I’ve found of going about it. A book pass is a simplified book tasting and is one way to share new books, genres or authors with our students, while still allowing them choice in their selections.
During a book pass, the class will browse through stacks of books that have been pulled out of the classroom library by the teacher (with a little help from the librarian and even the reading specialist) and record any titles that interest them. Here are some tips for hosting a simple book pass in your classroom!
When choosing books to place at each station, set a purpose. Do you want to introduce your students to new books? Or are there books in your library that don’t get the attention that they should? Are you hoping to help them make connections with your curriculum? Make sure to provide a variety of genres and formats for students to choose from, such as poetry and graphic novels.
Place books at each station
Create stacks of books on tables or desks around your room. Each pile should have more than enough books for each student, so that they have a few to browse through. Spread your stations out, so that there is enough space for students look at books and write down their favorites, without bumping into others.
Model how to preview a book
This is the most important step! We can’t assume that all students know how to preview a book. Teach them to read at the blurb on the back cover or the book jacket. Remind them to browse the illustrations. I also like to use a post-it note to mark the first chapter, so that students can quickly peruse the first few pages of the book.
After students have visited all the stations, bring the class back together to share what they discovered. Have students share one of the books that they chose to add to their to-read list. You could even have them provide the reasons that the book caught their attention or looks interesting to them. This is a great way to start conversations among your students about books!
A book pass can be a powerful and engaging way to expose your students to new books. It also provides an opportunity for students to engage in discussions about what they are reading or plan to read.
A book pass puts an emphasis on reading for pleasure. It shares new reads with your class, but still gives them the opportunity to choose the books that they would be interested in.