Approximately 120 seventh-grade students at the James E. Bazzell Middle School visited the Delicious Words Café this week for a sampling of the many different genres of books available to read at any given time.
Bazzell educator Katie Stinson transformed a computer lab into a restaurant-like setting---complete with flower centerpieces on each table. Instead of food to sample, each table contained age-appropriate books revolving around the theme of the table. Among the different genres of books offered for students to look at were classics, non-fiction, mystery, sports, adventure, historical fiction, and thrillers.
“The students also have a menu which they will use to answer some questions about the books they ‘tasted,’” Stinson explained. “The questions include the title, author, genre, what they think of when they see the cover, what peaked their interest about the book, and whether or not they might like to read the book.”
Stinson designed the book-tasting event to not only help her students discover more different types of reading material but also as a way to help students in choosing books to read this year—a process complicated by the school’s library undergoing renovation.
“Every year we have students that haven't found that author or genre that really peaks their interest,” Stinson explained. “This year, with the library being under renovation and students using mostly the public library's online service to reserve books, I anticipated a lot of frustration, not only because they don't know where to start looking, but also because they cannot physically browse the shelves, pick up a book, and look it over. I had 10 different genres represented with a variety of books in each genre, provided by the public library. Hopefully by the end, they came away with a list of books or authors that they are able to pull from when they request a book from the library, and also a better sense of who they are as readers.”
The educational, hands-on exercise peaked the interest of the students.
“I like to read and my favorite genre is fantasy but I have not really explored others,” student Ella Rickard said. “This is an opportunity to look at more than one.”
Classmate Peyton Scott liked the book tasting as well.
“This allowed me to explore more books than I would normally do,” Scott added. “I’m enjoying this.”
By the time students completed the activity, each had complied a list of future reading possibilities to check on---be it from the Allen County Public Library or in the school library once renovations are complete in the coming weeks.