How to Host a Children’s Book Club

by , posted on March 4th, 2013 in The Reading Nook

how to host a children's book club

We’re ALL about reading over here. I’m like a dog with a bone – kids need to read. By giving your kids the habit of regular reading you are giving them the gift of a lifetime. 

Want an easy and fun way to do that? Start a kids’ book club with your child and their friends. It’s like hiding the shredded zucchini in the cookies – with the fun comes all the side benefits.

Here are the reading “zucchini” benefits hidden in the fun:
- it works for every level of reader – from the reluctant ones to the book hounds
- it helps develop their critical thinking skills as they learn to express WHY they like a particular book
- it gives your kids a chance to socialize outside of school

Need a blueprint? Here it is.

1. Invite four to seven of your child’s friends
Talk to your child about who to invite. Consider friends from school and any outside activities like sports teams, dance or art classes. Four to seven is a nice number. Too large and any conversation gets difficult. Too small and there won’t be enough conversation. Have another parent hang out with you to help stickhandle things.

2. Meet every six weeks in your home
Every two months and you risk losing momentum. Monthly might be a stretch depending upon everyone’s extracurricular activities. Perhaps shoot for every six weeks for the first few. You can host all of them or you can rotate through the members’ homes.

3. Pick a book
Select a book that’s available at the local library and in bookstores. Ask your librarian for recommendations for your age group. This is where reading levels are less important. Less experienced readers can have the book read to them while more advanced readers can read the book on their own.

4. Meet for 1 1/2 to 2 hours
A book club meeting is similar to a birthday party without the cake and balloons. Think 1 ½ to 2 hours tops. The kids arrive, they settle in for the book discussion, you have a book-related activity for them and then a snack.

5. Encourage discussion
Ask questions that require longer answers than yes/no. Here are some examples: “who was your favorite character?” ; “if you were the author, how would you end the book?”; (if there are illustrations) “what do you think about the pictures?”; “why do you think the author chose this title?”
- provide enough time for kids to formulate their answers
- encourage kids to participate by valuing everyone’s opinion but don’t force reluctant participants
- facilitate but don’t dominate the discussion

6. Include a book-related activity
These are kids so it has to be fun. That’s part of the kid job description – having fun. Here are some ideas for your book-related activities:
- put out a variety of craft supplies for the kids to make book marks
- use the craft supplies and old magazines to create a collage
- have the kids act out a scene from the book
- draw a poster advertising the book
- on another date, watch the movie made from the book
- have kids come to the book club dressed as their favorite character

So pick a date and a book and let me know how it goes!

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7 Responses to “How to Host a Children’s Book Club”

  1. Cindy @ One Part Sunshine Says:

    March 4th, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks for the idea! I homeschool and this would be the perfect supplement to our reading curriculum. I think we will start with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because there are some great study guides that go along with it.

  2. Sandra Says:

    March 4th, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    And you can have all sorts of yummy treats and crafts to go with it! Plus see the movie at another time if you are so inclined.

  3. Jillian in Italy Says:

    March 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Great idea Sandra. My kids would absolutely adore this. Especially if they could dress up as their favorite character in the book.

    Problem around here is that everyone has a different mother-tongue but maybe I could arrange that everyone reads their books in whatever language they choose and we discuss in a common language (usually Italian around here).

    Sandra Reply:

    That sounds like a great solution! I’d love to be there to see how kids from different language backgrounds also respond differently to the same book. In other words, how much does culture play into which books resonate with our kids.

    I know here in Canada French Canadian and English kids culture differ as much as adult culture from the two cultures. We’ve had some crossover that works (Toopy and Binoo cartoons are a delight)

  4. Hana Says:

    March 6th, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Hey Sandra – I am desperate to start a children’s book club. Ava is still an ‘emergent reader’ but I am encouraged by your comment about picking a book that I could read with her and we could still use the format you suggest. What do you think, would a book club still work if all the children were still emergent readers? H xo

  5. Sandra Says:

    March 6th, 2013 at 8:25 am

    A book club with emergent readers would work and would be a fun way to encourage reading. Sometimes the comprehension is there but the reading skills are still growing. Hence a caregiver to read the story to them. Funnily enough sometimes the early superstar readers struggle with comprehension.

    Pitch it to her age with books that interest Ava and her friends. And keep it fun.

    Barring serious learning challenges, some kids can read by 5 or 6 and some are through much of grade 2 (7-8) before the reading fluency kicks in. It’s part skill, part developmental, and part learning style.

    Good luck!

  6. Top 10 of 2013 Says:

    December 30th, 2013 at 11:26 am

    [...] How to Host a Children’s Book Club Sandra offered six easy tips for hosting a non-intimidating and non-boring book club that will get [...]

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