Book Speed Dating- Some Tips on “How To”

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This month, at the Adolescent Literacy Summit, I once again had the pleasure of facilitating a “Book Speed Dating” session in hopes of sharing some of my favourite texts with my fellow book loving colleagues. If you’d like to see the resources I shared during this session click here.

To prepare for all the “daters”, I set up six tables, all featuring thematically similar texts and gave each participant in the session a “Book Speed Dating” recording sheet  for them to keep track of the “chemistry” they experienced with each text. In a fast paced, one hour session participants were able to “speed date” over 30 books! In this week’s post, I’d like to share some “how to” tips on facilitating Book Speed Dating.

What is the Process for “Book Speed Dating” in a classroom setting?

  1. Each table contains 4 texts to preview
  2. Students individually preview the text; examine the cover, read the blurb on the back or inside the dust jacket, and jump into an initial reading of the first few paragraphs. (3-5 minutes)
  3. Once the individual review is done, students use the book speed-dating sheet to capture their initial thoughts. (1-2 minutes)
  4.  As group, students discuss the “chemistry” they felt with the respective book (5 minutes)
  5. Group moves to next table to examine a new set of texts- repeat steps 2-4.

How Can I Use “Book Speed Dating” in My Classroom?

  • As an intro to titles on offer for Book Clubs or Lit. Circles.  Each table would hold 4-5 copies of the same text, and students would have the opportunity to make informed decision about which texts they would like to read over the course of the Lit. Circle/Book Club.
  • As a way to preview texts in a classroom library- In addition to book talks, book speed dating is a great way to introduce students to the diverse genres of books within a classroom library. In this format, each table would have 4-5 different book titles of the same genre.  Each student is responsible for previewing one of the texts and sharing that preview with the group, so more time would probably be needed on step 4. Students would use their book speed dating sheet as a way to curate titles for “what to read next.” Next steps could also include an exploration in the characteristics of each genre.
  • To empower students to share their favourite texts-  By the midpoint of the year, your classroom community of readers has started to develop lists of their own favourite texts. Have each student bring their favourite book to the speed dating.  That text goes into the pile, and is selected by another person to preview. The group goes through the process as described above, but add step 4(b) in which students contribute which book they brought and why.

Other Twists

  • Blind Dating- In previous sessions, I’ve taken texts and wrapped them in brown paper, and written a personality profile of the book on the brown paper.  This is a particularly fun approach for texts that have less than appealing or dated cover artwork.

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  • Book Tasting- For younger grades, book speed dating can be rebranded as a book tasting.

In my next post I’ll share curated list of titles and themes that could be used for Book Speed Dating, Lit. Circles and/or Book Clubs

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