Kari Hall’s third grade class at Ridgefield’s Union Ridge Elementry is in for a “read-treat”. She transforms the classroom into a cool cafe feel with red and white checkered tablecloths over the desks and background music; and with Ms. Hall as the chef serving up books, the kids can’t go wrong.
The idea came from one of Hall’s teacher friends. The basic idea is “to get kids excited about reading different genres. Each table is its own genre: fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, biography, and book series. The kids have a big platter in the middle of their table with ten to twelve books on it.” Then the tasting begins. To “taste” means each kid first looks at all the books. They talk to each other about what they see and what they think looks good. They then settle on one book to taste. The taste is to read three pages and take notes about what they read. The students rotate around the room “tasting” all the genres.
Each student takes notes of what they read so they can come back to the ones they are most drawn too. All the books are kept in the classroom library and available to read at a later time.
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Hall does this “cafe” twice a year. The students really get into it. Hall said, “reading should be a joyful thing. The more they get into the books, the more they’re talking about it, the more they become obsessed with reading. And you produce these great readers by the end of the year.”