The BEST Tip for Engaging Reluctant Readers

The BEST Tip for Engaging Reluctant Readers

Are you looking for a way to spice up your students’ silent reading time? Do you want to introduce some excitement and variety into your classroom library? Look no further than the Blind Date with a Book activity!

Getting Started

The idea behind this activity is simple: wrap books from your classroom library so that students can’t see the cover art or read anything on the book jacket.

 Instead,  write down some key clues on the wrapped cover that might hook them, with the goal that students may choose to read a book they might not normally have gravitated to.

For example, if you wrap R.J. Palacio’s book, Wonder, your clues on the cover might read, “27 surgeries,” “an astronaut helmet,” and “the struggles and strengths of friendship.” If the book is Ghost by Jason Reynolds, the clues might be, “a boy on the run,” “sunflower seeds,” and “a coach’s guidance.”

Decide Who Will Participate

You can set up this Blind Date with a Book activity in two different ways. You can make it mandatory for the whole class to participate, and have a whole bunch of books wrapped and labeled for students to choose from. Or, you can always keep a few books covered and labeled in your classroom library for students to pick if they want.

A quick teacher hack: if you feel like this is just too much work on your part, you can have your students create the blind date labels with all the clues, and even get them to do the wrapping!

Whether it’s mandatory or optional, encourage students to stick with the book they chose for a decent amount of time unless they absolutely think it’s a terrible match for them. Remind students that when people date, it often takes more than a few minutes to see if there’s a connection!

Leave a Review

After students have read their chosen book, have them leave a date review. This is an opportunity for students to reflect on their selection with questions that include:

On a scale of 1-5 (1 = a terrible match and 5 = a perfect match), how would you rate this book? Why?

What kind of person would you recommend this book to? Why?

What kind of person would you NOT recommend this book to? Why?

By implementing the Blind Date with a Book activity, you can get even your most reluctant readers trying out some new titles and actually reading during silent reading time. Give it a try and see the difference it makes in your students’ reading habits! 

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Then, pick the date you’re going to teach it in your classroom, and sit back while you watch as your students show up to your classroom pumped about what the day holds…and gush about your class to their parents on the car ride home!

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