COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX & Jennifer Kayhoe) - At Smith’s Reading Café inside Martin Walker Elementary School, a circle of classmates gather to share a meal. Their waitress, teacher Kathy Smith, encourages students to try an appetizer and a main dish.
After reading the menu, the scholars pick an appetizer they are interested in and are given a few minutes to see if they like it. Then, it is time for the entre’ where they pick a different selection and are given a few more minutes to try what they selected and see if they think they will want a bigger helping.
But, Smith isn’t serving food in her café, she is serving books and students are getting just enough time to develop an interest in the story before moving on to another book. Smith wanted her fifth-grade students to be more involved and engage in reading books like in their literature circle. So, she turned her classroom into a book tasting café where students had a chance to try many different books.
“I thought it would be a great way to introduce the books by reading a summary and small portion of the book…,” Smith said. “My goal is to foster a love of reading by having the students excited about literature circles through which they will engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read and discuss books.”
Fifth grader Aidan Nuno explored books he would not have normally picked to read but said he wanted to continue reading the books to find out what happens at the end of the stories.
“I thought it was a good idea to do,” Nuno said. “The book, Wonder, was my favorite book. I felt sorry for August because his face was different from surgeries, and they couldn’t fix it.”
After the scholars had tasted their two books and were full, they talked about the books they tried and were handed their check. Just like most checks at a restaurant, there was a survey for the scholars to complete that asked them to rate the books and share which books they preferred.
Smith says her goal is to use this activity to include books in her lessons that students will be interested in reading.
“I will then use the rankings to organize the literature circle groups so that students will have ownership in the book they will read,” Smith said