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Host a Pre-Winter Break Book Tasting

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Did you know that in Iceland they have a special holiday tradition called “Book Flood” on Christmas eve? People gift each other books, then relax and read them while drinking hot cocoa or eating holiday chocolate. Winter Break Book Tasting might be the perfect idea to try in your classroom.

Isn’t that just the best idea? I love it.

This year I want to suggest you help your students have a book flood of their own, by making sure they have a great book (or two) to take home over winter break from your school or classroom library.

And that means making a special effort to help your students find something they will actually want to read!

What better way than a book tasting? Don’t worry, I know you have a million things to do right now, so I’m going to share the quick step-by-step in this post and provide you with all the free curriculum to make it super easy.

You can listen in to this episode below, click here to tune in on any podcast player, or read on for the full post.

What’s a Book Tasting? (A Quick Review)

You may already know all about book tastings at this point, and that’s great if so! But just in case, here’s a quick review. During a book tasting, you set up a cafe-like atmosphere in your room (go as all in or as chill as you wish). Pull your desks together into tables, maybe pick up some Swiss Miss packets or tea bags and cups, turn on your twinkle lights and fun music, scatter books you think your students will love around the tables, and then welcome your kiddos in.

Each student’s goal is to walk around with their Book Tasting paper where they can jot down a few notes, and “Taste” each book. That means checking out the cover, reading the blurb on the back, maybe reading a review in the inside cover, maybe reading the first page or two. If they know they’re not liking what they see, they can abandon ship at any time and pick up a different book to taste.

Everyone wanders, sips their cocoa, and jots down books they think they’d like to read. At the end, they check out a book (or two).

Setting up your Pre-Winter Break Book Tasting

Ok, first things first, you’re going to want the free curriculum pictured here that I’ll be referencing! You can grab it here. Unless you’d rather make your own, which is totally cool of course!

Start by setting up your room however you want it. Unusual lighting choices, music, any type of snack or warm drink, tablecloths, sprigs of pine in jars with ribbons – ANYTHING like this that sounds fun to you and will be easily repeatable from year to year (to make it worth the investment of time up front) will add to the fun of your winter break book tasting event.

In terms of books, if you’ve got a strong load of winners on your classroom shelves, use those. If not, a trip to the school library and a chat with your wonderful school librarian is in order. Hopefully whatever route you take, you end up with solid books you can put out in each class. Beware of putting out all your top favorites in your first book tasting! You don’t want period seven to have nothing they’ll want to read.

Once your ambiance is set and your books are scattered, project one of the slides in your kit onto your whiteboard or smartboard, to set the scene. Then welcome your students and give them one of the Book Tasting TBR organizers pictured below.

Enjoy your Winter Book Tasting

Now comes a low-key and relaxing final period before break! Students can sip their drinks, browse the books, jot down their favorites so they know what they want to check out at the end of the period, and enjoy the atmosphere. If you need to connect with anyone about anything before break begins, it’s an easy time to do so. If not, you can just wander with the kids, making suggestions if you feel certain kids should really taste certain books!

Save a few minutes at the end of your book tasting to let kids check out books. If you anticipate many students wanting a certain book, you can always try to have a few backup copies ready from the library, or a clear system for randomly selecting who gets it this time and jotting down who will get it after break so the first reader knows who to pass it to next.

That’s it! I hope you’re going to try this, and I hope you’re going to love it! You might like the How to Host a Book Tasting (Free Resource).

Remember, you can snag all the free book tasting curriculum right here.

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I'm Betsy

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