Fall in Love with a Good Book Today!
Many ELA students are doing a fun activity in their classrooms during the period when they’re not taking the PAARC this month. It’s called Library Book Speed Dating. The activity consists of five rounds in which you spend a few minutes getting to know a book so you can decide which ones you would like to read. We call it speed dating because the procedure is similar to the speed dating parties they have for single adults. In each round, you sit at a table covered with books and you have one minute to select a”date” based on first impressions (cover art, title, appearance, etc.). Then you have two minutes to “flirt” by reading the summary on the inside cover, the back cover, or looking at a random page. Finally, you get three minutes to read as much as you can, in most cases starting with the first page.
After each phase, students record their date’s score on a rating sheet. When the time is up, everybody rotates to the next table of books and repeats the process. At the conclusion of the activity, anyone wishing to continue reading a book can fill out a “Second Date Request” form and pick up their date from the library later. In keeping with the dating metaphor, students are encouraged to focus all of their attention on their date for the full five minutes, and are not allowed to talk to other students or attempt to dump their date and pick up another one because that would be unfair and rude. What this teaches students, aside from knowing how to thoughtfully browse for books, is that although first impressions do count, they are not to be the only criteria. Or in other words, “do not judge a book by its cover.”
Also, when students pick up their dates, they are informed that there is a curfew (due date) of two weeks. After the curfew, if students wish to continue seeing their dates, they should bring them in to the library to get a time extension (called renewing), or they will risk getting in trouble for having OVERDUE books (see the post below). Book speed dating is engaging and a lot of fun for many students, and it greatly increases the likelihood of falling in love — with reading, of course!