Human Library

Students ask each other questions to figure out which book title is taped on their back, then they arrange themselves in sections to form a human library.

Learner Level: Intermediate to high intermediate
Theme: Sections in a library or bookstore
Skills: Speaking, vocabulary building
Time: 10 minutes
Materials: A small square of paper for each student, tape, pens
Grouping: Whole class
Preparation: Make a list of all of the main sections of a library or bookstore. Fiction, Science Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Non-fiction, Reference, Self-Help, Audio Books, YA, childrenʼs lit…

Teacher Instructions:

1. Tell each student to think of a book. It can be a well known title or a book on a certain topic (eg. a book about trains).
2. Give each student a square of paper to write down the book title or topic. Students then tape the paper to another studentʼs back. (The other student should not see what the paper says.)
3. Students walk around the room talking to other “books”. They ask each other questions to try to figure out what it says on their backs.
4. When a student guesses correctly, he can move his square of paper to the front. He can then help other books who are still asking questions.
5. When all of the students have their papers on their fronts, ask students to arrange themselves into a “library”. Which students belong together?
6. Have each group describe their section. Do they really belong together on a shelf? If any students arenʼt yet shelved, have students work together to try to place the individual book in an appropriate section.

For Example:

Student B: Which section of the library would I find myself in?
Student A: The reference section.
Student B: Whatʼs on my first page?
Student A: Lots of words that start with A.
Student B: How big am I? Am I a long book?
Student A: Yes, you are hundreds of pages long.
Student B: Am I a dictionary?
Student A: Yes.

Teacher 2 Teacher:

After your class has arranged itself into sections of a library, brainstorm some of the other main sections that donʼt have any human books.

Related Topics from

Famous Things: Paper
Famous People: William Shakespeare
Flashcard: Library


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