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Sending students on an online date with a book is one of the most engaging ways to help ELA students find an independent novel. I use this activity as a way for students to choose a novel for silent reading time, but you could also use it as a way for students to choose a novel for a book report or other independent reading project. Below, I give a step-by-step description of how to implement this in your own classroom.
First, you need to have access to enough books for each of your students. Try to select a group of appropriate books from different genres. Distribute the books to your students at random. Students won’t be reading these books in particular, however.
Once all of your students have a random novel, tell them that they will be creating an “Online Book Dating Profile” for that novel. They don’t need to know everything about the novel because the profile is created based only on the book cover, the title, and the blurb on the back of the book or inside the jacket cover. On my book dating profile, I have students complete the following sections:
Once students have created the profile, collect all the books and set up a bulletin board or wall in the classroom with a banner that reads “Fall In Love With A Book.” Under the banner, students can attach all the “Online Book Dating Profile” sheets that they have filled out, as shown below!
Have your students look through the online book dating profiles on the wall or the bulletin board. When they find one they like, have them take it down. They have found their match! However, they will still need some time to get to know the book a little better before making any kind of commitment…
After students have selected their book, I ask them to take a look at the cover, title, and blurb. Then, they complete a “First Date Impressions” assignment where they discuss what drew them to the book, what expectations they have, and if this is a typical book choice for them.
Tell students they will now start dating this book. I give time in class for this, so that they actually give the book a try. Tell students they cannot abandon their book immediately. They have to give the book a chance by reading at least a few chapters. Just for fun, I also like to give my students bookmarks as gifts that read, “Shh…I’m on a date with my book.”
After students have been reading the book for a few days, you can also ask them to “Rate Your Date”. In this writing assignment, students must decide if they will continue reading this book or choose another and give reasons for their choice!
As a final assignment, after students have finished an independent novel, have them tell their “Love Story” with a writing assignment that has them analyze story elements (character, plot, theme, conflict, setting) of the book. You might also consider having students share this information with a book talk!
I hope you and your students have fun with this activity! If you want to grab the ready-to-use Online Date with a Book, click here: Online Date with a Book.
You might also be interested in checking out my tips for using book talks in your classroom.
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