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How to Host a Book Tasting to Teach Genres

Teaching students about what types (or genres) of books they like to read, and why they like to read those genres is very important to me.  Too often I see students get stuck reading only one series over and over.  Don't get me wrong, I love Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants, but my heart bleeds when those are the only books a student is reading, and are afraid to jump into anything else.  What's even worse is when they check a book out of the library one week, return it the next, without ever actually reading it!  By learning about genres, students can use clues on the book cover, spine and back to tell them if its something they might be interested in.  This is where a book tasting comes into play.  We had already spent about a week talking about genres, and this event was my assessment piece.  Did they know why books fit a certain genre? What clues would they use? Could they justify their thinking?

I love setting up room transformation events.  The reaction from kids is priceless!  A book tasting is one of those events.  I set the room up the night before, and then put this sign over the little window in my door so students couldn't peek in.  They are used to seeing me greet them in the morning, but not with the door closed!  Intrigued before they even came in the classroom!


Once I let them enter, this is what they saw: tablecloths, place settings, candles, snacks, books, and menus.  The set up for this was really so easy and quite inexpensive too!

 Basically everything was purchased from the Dollar Store.  Each table was decorated with a centerpiece consisting of a plate, flower, glass cup, gems, and a candle.  The candles are the plastic battery operated kind.  I bought one bunch of fake flowers, and put one on each setting. 

I first sat everyone down at the carpet and played them a short video I created with iMovie.  Essentially, it told students what we were going to do, why were going to do it, and how.  They thought it was so hilarious that my voice was in a video!

I had 5 table groups set up, with 6 settings at each.  Every table showcased a particular genre, but it wasn't labeled or identified anywhere.  Students sat down at a table and took some time to examine the book in front of them.  They recorded the following:

- title
- author
- thoughts on the book based on the cover

After giving a few minutes for this, students then read for 5.  Once the 5 minutes had passed, they returned to their menu to write down:

- thoughts on the first few pages
- clues they found to the genre
- the genre of the book

They then rotated and repeated this process four more times with four different genres.  Of course, before moving on, they had a little snack at each table too!

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  1. Hello! Do you have the pamphlet available? Thanks!

    1. Hello! I don't at this time. This is something I need to get completed!!