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Book Tastings Encourage Elementary School Readers
When Bedford Village Elementary School students went to library the week before winter break it looked like they had stepped into a restaurant. Tables were covered in red-checkered tablecloths and each one had a tray full of books and flickering battery-powered tea lights. A similar scene greeted students at West Patent, Pound Ridge and Bedford Hills that week, as librarians Rina Baldo and Simone Loeffel organized book tastings for their students.
“A book tasting is a great way to sample new books to see if you might like to read them,” Loeffel explained to a class of fifth graders in Bedford Village. “When we do a book tasting, we only sample. We don’t read the whole book. You’ll have about three minutes to sample each book. What can you do in those three minutes? You can look at the cover. Read the description on the back or inside flap. Read the first page or two. Get a taste for what the book is about. It might be a book you have never even thought of borrowing. But it might be a way for you to find something new.”
At each of the schools, books were separated by genre (historical fiction, action and adventure, fantasy) or type (picture, non-fiction, graphic novel) and students were given menus that they used to rate the books they explored.
“We have a bunch of new books in and I thought a book tasting would be a great way to let you see them,” Baldo told her students in Pound Ridge.
There were oohs and ahhs as students saw books that sparked their interest or some they may have read before.
“The Lightning Thief!” one student yelled out excitedly. “I’ve read this one!”
“Oh, Shiloh! I love that book!” said another.
Aurora, a Pound Ridge student, found two new books she was excited to read. One particularly captured her interest. “The Mesmerist looks scary,” she said. “I like scary books.”
The book tastings were a fun way to boost students’ excitement about reading and to generate interest in titles and genres they may have thought were not for them.
“It’s a great way to encourage reading over the break, which is why we do it this week,” said Loeffel.