If you have never tried a “Book Pass” I would recommend giving it a try sometime. I have been thinking about doing this for a while now and decided that today was the day. 65 degrees of gorgeousness on March 7th put me in that invigorating try-something-different kind of mood. I first read about this activity in Still Learning to Read by Franki Sibberson and Karen Szymusiak, that I return to often. These ladies call it the “Check it Out! Circle.” The purpose of this activity is to acquaint or remind students about a particular genre of books. This year, I tried something a little different in terms of arranging books. Rather than house all of the books in one section of the classroom, we have mini libraries: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, math, writing, picture books, and new books. Students needed to be reacquainted with the great choices available in nonfiction.
The preparation for a “Book Pass” is minimal. Collect a variety of your chosen genre, one for each student. Students grab their reading notebooks and a pencil and gather around the meeting area. After a brief introduction, students are ready to peruse and pass. Each student starts with a different book and gets a couple minutes to browse. If the book is of interest, the next step is to add it to a list of books to read later and pass the book to the left. And so the process goes. We did three passes before it was time for library.
“This is fun!”
“Can we do more books later?”
On the way back to the classroom, a few students were eager to show off the nonfiction selections that they signed out of the library. Yes! Fist pump! We did several more passes after library. A quick survey revealed that all students wrote down at least new three titles. Many students had at least triple that number of books on their lists. Ahh, there is nothing like a spring day to dust off some books and freshen the spirit.