How do you get books into the hands of students who rarely venture into a school library to look at books let alone borrow them? How do you help students appreciate that reading books can be a calming and pleasurable experience? How do you show students that books have the power to move us and take us into the world of our imagination? In short, how do you get students to fall in love with reading books?
Well you take some balloons, roses, hearts, tables with lots of books, throw in lollipops and chocolate, add a dash of romance and mix it with almost 100 Year 10 students and you create something very special… Book Speed Dating!
Over the past two weeks Year 10 students came to visit the library and experience something different compared to their usual English classes. February is the month of romance which provided the perfect occasion to celebrate by giving students the opportunity to ‘fall in love’ with a book!
Tables were set up with a variety of books to choose from – fiction, non-fiction, picture books, graphic novels, autobiographies/biographies and books that looked at the theme of prejudice which students are currently studying in class. Students selected their first book for their first ‘date’. A timer was set for 5 minutes. When the timer went off everyone filled out their ‘Rate Your Date’ sheet and moved to the next table. By the end of the period students had ‘read’ six books. It was great to see students choose books they had never seen or heard of before, although favourites like Divergent and Fault in our Stars were popular choices.
One book in particular provoked a mix of bewilderment and curiosity from students as they tried to work out how to ‘read’ it. Tree of Codes created by Jonathan Safran Foer is an object of art where Jonathan took his favourite book, Bruno Schulz’s Street of Crocodiles, and by removing words carved out a whole new story". You can watch a short video below to see how this book was created.
Overall ‘Book Speed Dating’ was loads of fun for Year 10, especially when they could choose a sweet treat to savor at the end. I challenged students with the idea that books are our ‘friends’ and that God Himself wrote a Book for us which will transform our lives if we read it!
Ms Wendy de Jong
Secondary Teacher Librarian