Ms. Noreen Meehan, fifth grade English Language Arts (ELA) teacher at Golden Hill Elementary School in Florida, organized a “Starbooks Book Tasting,” for her class to create and foster an expanded interest in reading. The Starbooks café setting included tablecloths, hot chocolate, shortbread cookies and lemonade. Ms. Meehan wore a green apron to complete the café-like atmosphere.
Meehan’sapproach addressed a challenge for many ELA teachers: how to encourage students to try different types of books, both in genre and complexity. In this tasting room, students tried fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, biography and other literary works.
As it is early in the school year, Meehan wanted to expose her students to not only a broader world of literature, but the process of how a reader can use certain techniques to determine if the book fits their ”tastes.”
With each book sampled, students filled out a survey card. In one section, students identified their first impression: did the author hook them, and would they like more than a “sip” of the book? They also completed a card listing books they loved and books they would like to try.
Seeing the student’s curiosity and love of the event, Ms. Meehan decided that her students will return to the café to continue exploring new tastes in literature as the year progresses.