I usually keep a large number of books in my classroom (about 300). Most of my students get stuck on one genre. Once a month or so, I have everyone sit in a circle and I pass a book to each student. (I have used this activity with 3rd, 4th and 5th-grade students). I select a book for myself as well. I set a timer and we begin reading for 3 minutes. When the timer rings, we stop reading and pass the book to the person to the right. And we begin again until we have each read at least four books. Then everyone talks about the books they read: genre, setting, general impressions – what surprised them about the activity, and what they learned by doing it.
Often students will say that they have avoided a particular book or genre only to discover that they found it interesting once they spent some time with it. Books that are used in the activity are moved to a separate bookshelf and students write a comment or two about the book they read as a reference for others thinking about reading it. Their comments are kept in the “book check-out” folder.
The students enjoy the activity, and I have the satisfaction of doing something fun with the students that encourages them to “not judge a book by its cover!”
Warning: be prepared for moans when the timer rings, and students have to pass the book on!