Junior High School Version "Speed Rating"
Genre Dating Game.jpg
Image from the Hafuboti Blog Click on picture to view.

Genre Signs

Played like musical chairs. Each table has one genre on it with enough books to match the number of seats (more if possible).
Define Genre
Review Genres and Definitions
Have students choose book from table
Put hand up with book to see when everyone has chosen
Write down title, author and genre
"Get to Know" your book by looking at cover, summary, and start reading from the beginning of the book
Set timer for 3 minutes
Stop reading when timer sounds
Explain rating system and rate book

Musical Chairs
Rules for changing tables:
  1. No running
  2. When the chairs at a table are full, choose another table
  3. No laughing at my music choices!

Play music for 1 minute for students to choose the next genre
Repeat until 5 books are reviewed
Have students put a star next to their favorite genre after 5 reviews
If students can't handle moving tables, move the books, or have them stand in a circle and do something like "Hot Potato" passing the books around to the music

I can identify my favorite Genre

High School Version of Speed Dating
Students at Western High School Rate Books

Seat students at a table with a pile of new and interesting books laid out with covers facing up. Explain the concept of "speed dating" as a real activity where people go to meet someone they would like to spend more time with. They choose one book for their first date, and for 3 minutes, they "get to know" that book by looking at the cover, reading the jacket, and
starting the first chapter. At the end of 3 minutes, students are asked to rate their book: 1) I think I'm in love 2) let's spend more time together 3) maybe and 4) not my type. I give them one minute to write the title and author of the book, and circle their rating. If they really like the book they previewed, I let them set it aside to check out when the activity is finished.

Next, to add some fun to the activity, students pass the books in a clockwise circle (like hot potato) while I play silly love songs (better to pass the books than allow a class of 30+ students to run wild about the room). GLEE soundtracks are good for this, corny, but still contemporary enough for them to relate to. My favorites are Teenage Dream, Marry Me, Forget You, Silly Love Songs, and Baby. When the music stops (about 1 minute of music), they have a 2nd date with the book in their hands as the music stopped. I set the timer for another 3 minutes and they rate their 2nd book. I stress that this activity is to expose them to books they might not otherwise pick up. Repeat until the students rate 5 books. After the activity I allow them to check out books. If there is extra time, I do a pair-share, where they tell the friend sitting next to them which book they were most interested in.

If you don't think the title, "Speed Dating," will work in your facility, try some of these other ideas from librarians on YALSABK:

Book Crush Party
Book Tasting
Speed Rating
Book It
Matched Book
Speed Reads
Lively Lit
Power Browsing
Speed Book Browsing

The Genre Dating Game (a passive display idea)
Blind Date With a Book Display

Activity Description:
I set up tables so that each spot has a book (mix of old and new), a pencil, and a slip with some lines on it I made to go with our Summer Reading Theme. I tell the teens to pick a seat and explain that finding the right book is like finding the right person. There is a book for everyone, but life is too short to read books you don't like. I set a timer for three minutes and tell them to look at the book, read the blurb, start reading if they want. At the end of the three minutes I have them write down the title if it's a book they'd like to "see more of" and if not that's okay. Everyone then passes the book to their right and we set the timer again. After a couple rounds of this I do a break and booktalk a few titles. I have some trailers to show too but so far it hasn't really fit. Hopefully after about 45 minutes or so each person has at least a couple of books they'd like to get to know better. It's gone well at two branches so far and I'm scheduled to do it at a few more during the summer. So far the big hits were The Enemy by Higson and After by Efaw on the table and Shattering Glass by Giles and Heist Society by Carter that I've been booktalking.

Beth Saxton
Cleveland Public Library

My Version:
Heather Gruenthal, LBUSD
"Rating" + Genre for Middle School

Speed Dating with Genres by Denise McCaffrey
Here's a book Shopping list created by Christopher Rios, Librarian Downers Grove South High School

No Sweat: Easy Ways to Make Reading Fun for Middle Schoolers

Speed Dating For Middle School
This activity has been used in our student book club and also in 6th and 7th grade reading classes. The objective is to expose students to a variety of books so that they might find a book they would like to "get to know better."
The teacher or librarian gathers the books ahead of time. (We usually do a mix of fiction and nonfiction, but teachers sometimes do it with just one genre or just nonfiction books.) Students select their first book for their first "date." A timer is set for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off everyone fills out their Speed Dating form and passes their books to someone else. (Vary this each time—pass them 3 to the left or 4 to the right, etc.). At the end of the session students can share with the class if they have "fallen in love" with any of the books.

Idea adapted from: Marcia Kochel, Olson Middle School and Mary Childs, Valley View Middle School, Bloomington, ISD 271

Genre Lesson Plan from Joy McCollum