Reading Night: A Student-Led Book Tasting

Each year, we host a reading night and math night. The purpose is to bring parents and their children together for a night of fun that is geared toward reading or math. Our reading night was a great success this year. Because our grade level is huge (8 teachers when you count our TAG and special education teacher), we split in to three groups and I worked with two of my teammates to host a student-led book tasting in my room. I had initially found this idea at Mrs. Lodge's Library, so I had a general idea formulated in my mind. Here's what we did:

  • I bought checkered tablecloths at the Dollar Store. 
  • We selected 5 student volunteers and made chef's hats for each. (tissue paper and construction paper is all that you need)
  • We borrowed aprons from a local restaurant.
  • We tied red bandanas around each chef's neck.
  • We pushed desks together and then covered them with the tablecloths. We set up chairs around each table, with a stool at the head of each "table" for the student reader. We had four tables in total.
  • We set up each table based on If you liked…you might like… We chose Poetry by Shel Silverstein, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the I Survived series, and 11 Birthdays to base our recommendations off of. I typed up recommendations for each one and then sent my librarian a lengthy list. Our librarian has an awesome assistant, who pulled all of the books for us and had them ready for me to use! We set up the books at each table, which looked like this:

  • Each table had a student chef. To prepare for our night, each student was asked to choose one of the books off of the recommendation list and read a passage or two to their table of guests to pique their interest. We chose students who were animated and social, and they really blew us away! 
  • We left a book tasting notes paper in front of each chair with a pencil, so that students could write down the names of any books they found that they would like to read. We were sure to tell them that all of the books came from our very own school library! 
  • We held three, 20-minute sessions. Within each session, students were able to taste from two tables (10 minutes at each). As parents entered, we had a host outside handing out welcome papers, and we (the teachers) explained to parents to select a table with books that might interest their child. As they sat down with their child, they were greeted by the chefs. Once the table was full, chefs began their presentation, which included a greeting and a sharing of their passages. I typed each of them a script, but they really took it on as their own, getting better as each session went on. I have to say, and not just because I was a part of preparing it, that it was by far the best reading night activity I've ever done. When the student chefs finished sharing their passage, they would  allow the parents and students time to explore the books on the table. Parents were reading with children and talking to children about books. Everyone was engaged. It exceeded my expectations. We even received a compliment from our superintendent! Hooray!
Here's a couple of other shots from our highly successful student-led book tasting:

It really was an absolute blast and I'd love to do it again! 

Happy book tasting!


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