Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Bistro

Last year I wanted to find a different way of doing the classic "book report."  I do the First 20 Days of Reading from the book Guiding Readers and Writers in my classroom.  This system of Reader's Workshop relies on reader's response letters and book recommendations.  Some students really struggle with finding good books, so I thought a fun venue to share books would be a cafe-like atmosphere.  Last year, we called it Book Cafe, but since some teachers have been implementing the Daily 5 and The Cafe Menu, I didn't want the two cafes to be confused.  Thus, this year we changed the name to Book Bistro. 

Our elementary operates on trimesters, so we have 3 rounds of Book Bistro.  Each student presents one time per trimester.  With my class of 22 students, we hold 4 Book Bistros per trimester so there are 5-6 students presenting at each.  This usually takes up an hour of our morning, but it's definitely worth it.  It helps the students presenting work on oral communication, and the listeners get to hear about some great books!  The students have a list of ideas to choose from, but as you can see, they may also come up with their own idea and get my approval.  We've had some great presentations this year including a newscast shot on multiple locations!

Because it is a cafe or bistro atmosphere, the students presenting bring in treats and beverages for the listeners to enjoy as they present.  I've even had students bring specific food because it relates to their book!  

At the beginning of the year, I held my own Book Bistro for the students.  I brought the treats and modeled three different ways to present with three books that I enjoy.  We also discussed proper "cafe etiquette" including not scarfing down your food, sipping your beverage, sitting quietly, and not getting up to throw things away when someone is presenting.

Students really seem to enjoy this venue for sharing books.  It's fun to hear them tell me ," This book is GREAT!  I think I'm going to share it at the next Book Bistro."  Talk about motivated readers!


  1. This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing it. It looks like a fabulous way to engage students in their own reading, thinking of ways to share what they know using food, and a wonderful hook to engage the others with the books being presented. Thanks again. I want to try this in the spring.

  2. This is a great idea. I have been mulling over ideas about how to nurture more enjoyment in reading among my students and this would be a fun way to help.

    Thanks for sharing.