The first assignment I gave all three classes for the year was this list. The responses I received were varied, and interesting. Of course there were some students who said they didn't like any books, and some I had to explain what a genre was. But I consider it a successful day.
In case you can't read it, it reads:
1. Favourite Book
2. Favourite author
3. A book I didn't like
4. A book I want to read
5. Favourite Genre
6. Least Favourite Genre
7. YOUR Superhero name
8. Paragraph about your summer break
It really amazed me how many places HARRY POTTER fit in this for students in the classes. Some called it their favourite, a few said they didn't like it, and at least one said they wanted to read it. I was surprized that there could be students who hadn't read it, but now I know better.
The most common dislike was the book the junior high class read last year. Almost everyone said they disliked it.
I learned that junior high and high school students have a better concept of what exactly is a genre, but the 4/5 class needed a mini lesson right then and there to be able to answer that question. I've never taught above grade 3 before, so I had a learning curve to figure out these kids abilities.
You might be wondering why the Superhero question? I figured it would lighten the tension of first day jitters, and the kids might reveal something real about themselves.