Golden Hill Elementary is all about reading and, when it comes to books, every taste counts! Ebooks on reading devices might be more your taste, and a very convenient one it is. But nothing engages our senses and invites deep reading like a print book in our hands. You can feast your eyes on a book, you can feel and twiddle with it, you can smell it—you can practically taste it!
Ms. Meehan’s Star-books Café
Fifth grade students in Ms. Noreen Meehan’s class were recently treated to a fragrant, delicious, and all-around splendid Book Tasting event at Ms. Meehan’s café, decked with fanciful tablecloths.
Students delved into classic and newly-released start-book selections while sipping hot-chocolate or lemonade from “grown-up cups”—donated by Middletown’s Starbucks—and dunked shortbread cookies.
Out of her deep-pocketed apron, Ms. Meehan doled out book survey cards to help students reflect on their reading.
The Book Tasting approach
“Ms. Meehan’s approach addresses a challenge for many ELA teachers: how to encourage students to try different types of books, both in genre and complexity,” said Principal Deborah Lisack, an avid reader whose office also serves as a library for students. “During the tasting, students had it all in front of them: fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, biography and other literary works.”
Since it’s early in the school year, Ms. Meehan wanted to expose her students to a broader world of literature while showing them techniques to help them find books that suit their personal taste.
Using the survey cards for each book they sampled, identified their first impression, if and how the author hooked them into the story, and decided whether to “take a sip” of the book. They also completed cards on books they loved and books they would like to try.
“They loved it and they were really curious about different books,” Ms. Meehan said. Some students were surprised at the sudden appeal of genres they had never considered. Some wished there were more copies of popular selections. Others wanted to know just how many books they could take home to read.
“We’ll have to do it again. The café will be back,” Ms. Meehan assured her class.