Reading together can be fun! Even better: reading clubs can help struggling readers get and stay interested in reading. If you want to start a book club for your children, from 2nd grade on up, here’s a few ideas—and yes, books—to get you going:
Check with your local library for ideas on books
In 2013, The New York Public Library issued a list of ‘100 Great Children’s Books’ selected by its librarians. You can check out the list, here: http://www.nypl.org/childrens100
Talk to the librarians at your local library for their thoughts on new books for children (there seem to be more and more every year) as well as spaces and resources your library may have to support your new book club.
But also let your child’s interests guide the books that are selected
Children will be more engaged in the idea of a book club if they are active participants in seeking out and selecting the books for the group. Build on their natural interests and help them find titles that will fit the bill.
Think about the number of participants you want in the club
To foster conversation and make sure everyone has a turn, small groups tend to work best. For younger children, that can be as few as two or three; for older children, think about limiting group sizes to no more than 5.
Establish the rules of the club
These can be flexible, depending on your needs, but it’s important for children to learn to be respectful of the thoughts and ideas of others and allow everyone time to speak their opinions in a welcoming atmosphere.
It’s also a good idea to prepare children for the fact that they may not love every book in the book club. You want to refrain from making the book club like the dreaded homework, but think about instituting a rule that everyone has to read a set amount of pages in a book before giving up.
For young students, adult supervision and guidance are a must. For middle grade and older children, parental involvement can be more limited, but good guidance in keeping the group going is helpful.
Be sure to offer a selection of different kinds of books
Book clubs are a great way to expose children to all kinds of books and perhaps books that they wouldn’t normally read. Everything from graphic novels to how-to books can work. Again, work with your group’s natural interests and imagination to research possible book candidates.
BOOKS ON BOOK CLUBS
The authors reached out to hundreds of book club members, librarians and authors across the country to learn the secrets of forming a successful book club. Among their tips: start with children who can do some reading independently, build-in activities based on the action in the book—like cooking and serving recipes inspired by the characters, setting or themes in the book—and encourage children to ask each other questions about their selected book to foster discussion and deeper thinking.
Author Cindy Hudson started a book club with her daughter Madeleine—who had always loved to read—when she learned from her fourth grader that some of the kids in her school thought that reading was ‘uncool.’ Eager to help her daughter brush off the naysayers and maintain her love of reading, the duo formed a book club that instantly became a hit. Together, Cindy and her daughter discovered titles they were not aware of and while she notes they did not love every book in their club, all of the books gave them many things to think and talk about.