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!