Tag Archive | reading

Book Speed Dating

I decided to try book speed dating with my Year 8 classes this week. Too often when they come for wide reading they grab a magazine and just flick through the pictures without actually doing much reading. I wanted them to engage with a number of books and read for a focused amount of time.

I arranged the tables and chairs into groups of four, and made it look special by adding tablecloths and a box of artificial flowers to each. (We found about two dozen artificial flower arrangements sitting in a cupboard a couple of years ago. No idea where they came from but we claimed them and they’ve been great for displays on Spring, Valentine’s Day etc). I then created a response sheet where students could give a quick opinion of the books. I put together a trolley of suitable books which would appeal to both genders, aiming for a mix of genres. Each place setting at the tables had a book, a response sheet and a pencil.

book speed dating


When the students arrived there was much speculation about what was going on with the new look of the library. I explained what speed dating was and how it related to our activity. I discussed how, just as we form first impressions of people, we get an impression of a book by looking at its cover, font, use of white space and blurb. We also discussed the etiquette of speed dating – giving people/books your full attention for the allotted time, not ignoring your date/book or passing them over for another.

Students then had three minutes to get to know their “date” by reading solidly. When I was planning this I thought three minutes might be too short a time, but some students struggled to focus for that long and had to be reminded that they were being rude to their date. At the end of the three minutes I played some music to signal the time to move – poppy, romantic music such as Taylor Swift worked best. Students filled in their sheet and moved to the next table.

Overall it was a successful lesson and something that got the kids talking – when my second class arrived they’d been prepped by the earlier class and were eager to try it. The response sheet was a bit of a distraction for some students – they tended to doodle rather than read – so I might rethink that next time.

speed dating 1  speed dating 2


Our senior reading group meets on the first Tuesday of the month at lunch time in the library. It’s been running for a couple of years now and has around 8-10 members, mostly girls. The students bring in the books they’re reading and discuss them and I bring in some new titles to show to them. We sit on comfy armchairs around bowls of chocolate – all very civilized. I can’t take credit for the name of the group – I remember reading it somewhere but I’m not sure where.

choclit choclit poster

LEQ Support Teachers’ Network Meeting

Thank you to the Lutheran Education Qld Support Teachers for inviting me to give a presentation at their meeting today about reading trends, what students are currently reading and how to encourage our kids to read. It’s great to see so many people interested in promoting reading and understanding the value that reading has in our lives. I have included a link to my slides here if you want to follow up on anything: Reading Patterns and Trends

For those people who asked about my LibGuides page, the link is here.