WHO: 5th grade readers interested in picking up a new book to enjoy over the summer, share one of their favorites, and participate in a fun book exchange with their classmates.
WHAT: 5th grade students have been begging for one more book club this year (I can’t blame them – they did such a great job with their last one!), but with summer vacation looming and the special event calendar in full swing, we don’t have the time for a traditional book club. So instead of reading one book all together, I’m challenging students to think like a librarian and make a book suggestion for a classmate – with a twist!
Students should choose one book that they have read and loved, and that they don’t mind lending out for the summer (library books cannot be used for the book exchange – the books must belong to the student and be lent out with parent permission). While a traditional White Elephant Exchange invites participants to bring junk, the goal of our exchange is to end up with books that we’ll love – so readers should bring a book that they think their classmates will enjoy. Before lending their book out, students should include a note inside with details on how to return the book – for example, “When finished reading, please send this book back to…“, “Please return this book at the beginning of the next school year“, or “You can keep this book when you are finished.“
Ready for the twist? I can’t take the credit for this one. Students have requested a blind book exchange, which means that all participants must cover their books completely so that the covers are not visible. Students are welcome to decorate their books after they’re covered if they’d like. When we meet, each student will have 30 seconds to give a book talk and “sell” their book to the group. After each student shares, we will draw numbers and select books in a traditional White Elephant book exchange style, including bartering, trading, and stealing!
After each book has been claimed, we will unwrap our books together and continue trading. Each student should leave with a new book to read over the summer thanks to a personal book recommendation from a classmate.
WHEN: We will participate in the White Elephant Summer Book Exchange during library class on Thursday, May 18th. Book wrapping and decorating, as well as book talk planning and practice, should take place before our meeting.
WHERE: All White Elephant Summer Book Exchanges will take place in the Learning Village Library.
WHY: Because peer recommendations can be incredibly powerful for middle school readers, and it is empowering and meaningful to pass a book that you loved onto a friend. Also, who doesn’t want to start the summer off right with a great new book?
I can’t decide what I’m looking forward to the most – hearing your book talks, seeing your custom covers, or unwrapping the book I end up with and finding out what I’ll be reading this summer! Feel free to come to me with any questions, comments, or help with book talks. See you soon!
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