Basically, the purpose of a book club for kids is two-fold: to get social time with friends AND to read lots of books. Joining (or starting) book clubs is one of the best ideas to get your kids reading.
There’s nothing better than hanging around with your friends, playing, eating, and . . . talking about a book! Yes, talking about a book. 🙂
Because it’s the social, playing, and eating aspect of a book club that makes reading and talking about a book so much fun.
From an educational perspective, parent-child book clubs are rich with skill-building. Debbie Milner, Literacy Coordinator for the Denver Public Schools, says “Besides building a love of reading, book clubs develop an abundance of literacy skills: the ability to use comprehension strategies; to compare and contrast authors, themes, concepts and ideas; the ability to understand how reading can help you learn about the world; and the ability to learn how to be a good writer from reading good writing.”
Not only skill-building, but parent-child book clubs also show children that their parent values reading. “The parent is modeling reading (yippee!) so the child recognizes that the parent values the printed word,” says author and parenting expert, Michele Borba, Ed.D.
Starting Your Book Club
1. Decide who to invite.
Groups that do well are organized by interest, age, or gender. Also, no more than 10 or it gets too hard to manage. Also, decide if it will be a kids-only book club or a parent-child book club. Adding in the parents is a lovely way to share experiences and stories with your kids — I highly recommend it! For all ages.
*Incidentally, my youngest daughter didn’t want to do a book club. At. All. But, I made her. We were hosting after all!! Fortunately, she had a blast. I think that will usually happen if the book club is lots of fun, don’t you?
2. Select the first book, date, time and location.
You host first, then rotate houses. The child who hosts is the person who gets to pick the book for that month.
3. Read the book. Read it with your child if it’s a parent-child book club.
As you get older and more experienced, have kids mark the text so they can share favorite quotes or passages that particularly spoke to them.
4. Plan discussion questions, book-related activities, and snacks.
Involve your children in this process or let them plan it themselves. I like when the host kid asks the questions. These should be very easy, fun, and light-hearted to begin with. Then, after your discussion, let the kids eat snacks and play.
What kind of questions could your child ask? Have them think of a few simple questions like — what was your favorite part? or what was the funniest part? Starting the book club meetings with easy questions makes it win-win.
5. Meet with your book club!
The only rule we have is to use your good manners. Remind the kids that it’s okay to disagree but they need to wait for their turn and not interrupt. If this becomes difficult, the host or the host’s parent can call on kids raising hands to speak.
In my youngest daughter’s book club’s first book club discussion, the girls wore a Cat in the Hat hat when sharing. It got very silly! And everyone had a great time —
“Thank you SO much again for tonight. L and I had such a great time.”
“We had fun at the book club.”
“I believe it to be a great success for many first-time book clubbers!”
6. Plan for the next time.
It’s usually easiest to pick a day of the week each month — a day that doesn’t change. Whoever can make it makes it. Provide a sign-up sheet so kids can all take turns hosting the club at their house. To this end, be sure you get everyone’s email address so you can communicate about each book club meeting.
What Books Should Your Club Read?
Try to pick books that your group hasn’t yet read. Here are some book lists to get you started.
2. Goodreads Book Club Lists
3. 100 Great Children’s Books via New York Public Library
4. 100 Best Books: 9 – 11 year olds via Book Trust
What Fun Book Club Activities Should You Do?
START WITH QUESTIONS: Have the host think of questions to ask the group. Here are some examples:
How would you rate the book on a scale of 1 to 5? Hold up your fingers.
What was your favorite part?
What didn’t you like about the book?
Would you change anything about the story?
via Read Write Think
CONSIDER ART ACTIVITIES:
Have everyone draw their favorite scene or make favorite character trading cards.
Look on Pinterest for a craft that relates to the book.
PLAN FOR THEMATIC FOOD: Plan for snacks and games that relate to the book in some way. (If possible.)
OTHER BOOK RELATED ACTIVITIES:
Grab Bag: fill a bag with objects from the story. Have everyone pull out an object and say when it was used in the book and what character used it.
Whose Line Is It? Write down quotes from the book. Ask kids to guess who said each one.
Watch the Movie: If your book is also a movie, watch it together. Then talk about which was better – the book or the movie.
Take a field trip: Instead of your book club meeting, visit a restaurant or location that relates to the book.
Skype with the author: Many authors do Skype visits with fans.
Dress up: Dress like your favorite character.
Act out: Plan a skit to act out for each other.
Time to Get Started!
Ultimate Guide to Book Clubs for Kids
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