Waiter! I’ll take a serving of Seuss …
Books were the juicy entrees at the Reader’s Cafe, hosted by second-graders in Debbie Marsh’s classroom at Madison Elementary School.
Marsh discovered the idea online from another teacher. “This was the first time I’ve ever held this in my classroom, but I’ll definitely do it again,” she said.
To prepare, each student selected four books to share. On their menu, they wrote a brief description and drew an illustration to promote their books. “Many of them took lots of pride in their descriptions and drawings,” Marsh said. “They were very excited about the cafe.”
For a cafe look, Marsh’s class decorated tables with red-and-white checkered tablecloths and flowers.
At the cafe, student hosts and hostesses greeted and seated guests. “‘Waiters’ and ‘waitresses’ brought menus to the table. Guests selected the book they wanted to hear, and the chef filled the order,” Marsh said.
The waiter or waitress served their book on a tray for reading. Finally, the student server sat next to the guest and read the book. Students also served cookies and lemonade.
Principal Dr. Timothy Scott and reading specialist Stacy Blair visited the cafe, along with the office staff and teachers. “We had many parents, grandparents, aunts — even my husband attended,” Marsh said.
Popular selections were Dr. Seuss books for their humor and rhyme, along with “Dairy of a Worm,” “Roses Are Pink” and “Your Feet Really Stink.”
“Dr. Scott heard ‘George Washington’s Teeth,'” Marsh said. “One parent heard ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein. She knew it was my favorite book.”
The format allowed students to read aloud to another person. “Research shows that oral reading increases comprehension and allows students to shine, especially those that might not get the opportunity otherwise,” Marsh said.
Marsh considers the Reader’s Cafe a rousing success, and guests were complimentary. “My students thought it was so cool. It was a great day!”