Friday, June 17, 2016

Speed Dating

Yes, you read the title right...speed dating.

Now you're thinking, "What's an adult literacy organization got to do with speed dating?"

We were speed dating books!

Here's what happened...

Recently, our Wednesday afternoon group finished reading Getting Unstuck: Breaking Through Your Barriers to Change by Dr. Sydney Simon. Our next step was to select another book.

By the next week, we'd gathered fourteen possible books from which to choose our next group book. Well, how would you get twenty people to decide on one book? Would you dare to judge each book by its cover? Maybe. We decided a fairer way however was to speed date the books.

Round One

So, twenty of us spent an hour of our next session speed dating fourteen books.

We began by setting up our criteria. We all agreed that our next "read" had to be:
1) readable - we could pronounce most of the words and understand their meanings
2) helpful - the information would contribute to each of our personal lives in some way
3) interesting - the writing was not boring

In pairs (or in some cases as individuals), we examined each book one at a time for three minutes each for these three criteria. All daters agreed to at least minimally use the three minutes to examine the title, front and back covers, page 1 of the text, and the table of contents. Each dater had to decide if the dater made a connection with the content of the text and read a paragraph to feel if the text grabbed the dater's attention.

At the end of the three minutes, each dater rated each book. We developed the following rating scale:
1 = BAD - No way will I read this book.
2 = MAYBE - I might read it if I'm forced to read it.
3 = OK - I can deal with this book if it is chosen.
4 = I LIKE IT - I'll read it.
Image result for four agreements book
The Final Winner
5 = EXCELLENT - This is it. I love it! Let's read this book.

We followed this process six times, meaning that each dater examined only six of the fourteen books.

Because not everyone dated all fourteen books, we reported the ratings for each book based on the number of daters (reviewers). From the computed fractions, we figured the percentages. From the percentages, we decided that only books with 50% or higher could move into Round Two. The list for Round Two narrowed to seven books.

Round Two

One week later, we followed the same rules and ensured that all daters gave input. Based on the final count, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz won hands down.


Choosing our next book by speed dating and rating our "dates" engaged all of us in the book selection process. Everyone at least appears happy with the final choice and interested in participating in the group reading.

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