Reading Sampler (a.k.a. speed dating for books)

Presented by: Donna Smith

Subject Area(s):

Grade Level(s):


To help students find books they will enjoy, this lesson allows them to sample books before committing to specific titles.



The room should be arranged with large tables that can seat 4-5 students or desks in groups. Each table or group of desks should have 10 modern fiction books spread on them.  The students will each receive a Reading Sampler Worksheet.


Direct Instruction:

TL will explain to students that they will be reading samples from 3 books and writing an impression about each one. The goal of this activity is to expose students to a variety of books in order to help students choose a book they would most enjoy. Students should understand that everyone’s criteria for choosing a book may be different.  TL announces that a discussion will take place after the activity to examine the criteria used to select literature, and to share students’ reactions to the books.


Modeling and guided practice:

The teacher should read along with the students so he/she can offer his/her impressions of some of the titles.


Independent practice:

Students will open a book of choice from their table to any page (preferably near the beginning so that the ending is not spoiled) and read for 10 minutes straight. After time is called by TL, students will take 2-3 minutes to record the title, author and write a short reaction to the book. This process will be repeated 2 more times.


Sharing and reflecting:

After 3 books are sampled and worksheet is completed, the TL will lead a discussion on the process and ask for students’ reactions to the books. The discussion should also focus on students’ individual criteria for choosing literature. As students discuss the books, if they did not like a title ask them who the audience for this book would be. Offer insight into some of the titles by mentioning a familiarity with the book or any awards the book has received.

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