Building Our To-Read Lists: Book Speed Dating

My fourth graders are spending some time these last few weeks of school building their to-read lists. I’m hoping that when they leave me in early June that they have lots of strategies to build their to-read lists, and a pile of books that they can read during the summer.


I have heard about book speed dating from multiple people on Twitter the last two years. I’m sure that I do it a little differently than other people. As long as kids are getting the opportunity to preview and talk about lots of different titles, book speed dating serves its purpose.


How we roll:

1. I place a giant stack of books at each table group.

When selecting books for book speed dating I try to find titles that:

  • Are in a series that not many students know about

  • New titles

  • Books that I am surprised not many students have found during the year

  • Favorite authors that my kids are not reading (Blume, Dahl, Cleary, etc.)

  • Lots and lots of nonfiction

  • Old favorites-books that kids loved at the start of the year

  • Old read alouds-I love including the books that my students teachers read aloud to them in third grade


2. Tell students my reasons for selecting the books (above)


wpid-IMG_20130516_093014_020.jpg3. Explain purpose of book speed dating

  • Add to our to read list
  • Explore books that we might not usually explore
  • Revisit old friends


4. Set the timer


5. Rotate

After the time goes off students rotate to the next station.


6. Share

After students have visited each station, I give students an opportunity to share with one book that they enjoyed previewing.


18 thoughts on “Building Our To-Read Lists: Book Speed Dating

  1. I’m excited to do this with my students once I have a class of my own. (Next school year, I hope!)

    I’m trying to learn as much as I can from teachers, librarians, and authors before I am officially a teacher. This means I’m very curious (some might call it nosy) about what I see in classrooms of teachers I admire. Would you please do a tour of your classroom as it is now, explaining some of the displays on your walls. I think I remember from a previous tour that your favorite quotes are taped on your cupboard doors. Do you have a word wall? What’s your opinion on word walls?

    Thank you!

    Future Teacher


  2. Thank you for possible to Explanation me the idea more, Are the students going through the stations and then write about the title of the book A Why


  3. LOVE!! This would be a great idea adapted for 6th grade orientation. I could include books checked out by sixth graders in the past. Keep it up, Colby! Have you considered going back to add your librarian license (or however it’s done in Michigan)?


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