Fifth graders have strong opinions about reading. They either love it or they hate it. I cringe when they tell me they hate reading, but I can’t blame them, I didn’t necessarily love reading when I was younger either. My response as a teacher when they tell me they don’t like reading is that you haven’t found the right book yet. They try to argue, and I tell them just trust me, and then I try to find that book that will help them fall in love with reading.
Since my fifth graders all know how to read, I try to teach them how to find a book that is just right for them, which is exactly why we do the Book Tasting Café every year.
At the Book Tasting Café, the students are introduced to their server, Susie, (me) who is dressed in an apron accompanied by my best New York accent. While in the café, we learn and practice with the IPICK method with different books, and look through the café “tasting” all different books until they find three they want to “devour.” They fill out a menu to keep track of the books they want to “try.” Before the café closes for the day, the “diners” choose one book from their menu to add to their book box to read.
The lesson for this activity is simple, but changing up the classroom, adding table cloths, fake flowers, and menu full of different genres to read about, and coming in as a waitress gets the students excited and engaged in the lesson. Normally, I just do the Book Tasting Café at the beginning of the year, but I think I will do it again soon to ensure students are picking books to read that help them become better readers.