Book tasting heats up reading at DeMello

Oct 27, 2017

At DeMello Elementary School, Italian music played in the background and cafeteria tables were set with quintessential red-and-white tablecloths, but apron-clad staff whisked fresh books between tables instead of food.

Modeled after a food tasting, the “book tasting” event was an after-school continuation of a year-old initiative begun by Lisa Maucione, DeMello’s reading specialist, to boost students’ interest in reading.

She hand-picked dozens of books in five genres - from realistic fiction to graphic novels - and designated each of five tables to a particular genre. Students then took turns rotating from table to table, “sampling” an assortment of books instead of food.

“They may see a book on a table they didn’t even know about and look into it,” Maucione said.

The after-school book tasting was an extension of the program teachers ran in their classrooms last year. Maucione decided to get parents involved after receiving feedback that many parents were looking for ways to help their students get into reading.

At the fantasy table, fifth grader Carlos Jeronimo found Mo Willems' book "We Are Growing," which tells the tale of maturing in a unique way.

“It’s not hard to read, and it’s funny and exciting,” Jeronimo noted as he flipped through the book.

Others, like Nathan Bickett, were drawn to adventure, as Bickett picked out “Ninja Timmy” as one of his favorite books from the night, owing to its tales of adventure.