Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover

Today we had a great time with this activity, Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover. Sixth graders came in and sat at a table with a stack of books that I preselected. I placed about six or seven books at each table from different genres. I tried to choose books that would appeal to boys and girls and find books that I feel are overlooked because the cover might not be the most eye catching. We used the worksheet above. Students had 30 seconds to write the title and author and put a check or Y if they would read the book just after looking at the cover or a X or N if they would not read the book after looking only at the cover. Then they had one minute to read the back or jacket flap and put another check or X. Finally they had two minutes to start reading the book. We rotated the books until everyone looked at five books.
Then we had a discussion about whether or not they changed their minds after exploring the summaries and reading the first few pages. We talked about the importance of cover art. Several students shared a book that they explored where they changed their mind after reading more. Some liked the cover, but then did not like the summary and vice versa. Everyone had at least one book that they would read on the list and many students checked out books from their table. This was a great lesson about the art of choosing a book.
I shared an example with them, The Girl Who Owned a City. This is one of my all time favorite books, but the cover is dreadful. After showing the book and telling them a little about the story, students were arguing over who checked it out first.
Students agreed that these books did not have the best covers, but the story sounded great. All of these (and more) were checked out today.
If you are looking for a fun, easy to prepare lesson idea, I urge you to give this a try. The students were all enthralled, active participants and the discussion was excellent. I saw this idea on a blog somewhere, but I can't find it to give credit for the life of me. If it was you, please let me know and I'll give you credit and link back to your post.


  1. Great idea for those circulation days when you want to give students lots of great books to examine. If you find our who you got it from, tell them I'm stealing the idea!

  2. I've done something similar with a selection of very short books for my reluctant readers. I included fiction and nonfiction, and it always leads to students checking out more books. I like the writing portion of your plan. Now to find the time...