Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing Column 31
This editorial article was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.
How to Help Your Reader Start a Book Club
The Children’s Book Review
Starting and participating in a book club is a great way to encourage kids to read and take ownership over their reading growth and goals. Book clubs can easily be adapted for different ages and stages. Read on to discover tips for starting the best kids’ book club ever for younger and older kids.
Starting a Book Club for Younger Readers (ages 4-6)
- Help your child choose a few of their favorite picture books or books they would like to read.
- Pick one for the first meeting.
- Invite a few of their friends over for the book club meeting.
- Read the book aloud.
- Then help the children to discuss and share about the book. Developing language skills is valuable for growing and improving literacy skills like comprehension and vocabulary. The children may lead the discussion and share themselves. However, if you need help getting the sharing started, a few guiding questions are listed below. These questions can also be turned into a small and brief “teaching point” before the discussion.
- What was your favorite part of the book? Why?
- Who was your favorite character? Why?
- What did the character(s) learn in the book?
- What did you learn from the book?
- Where did the story take place?
- What was the story mostly about?
- What was the book mostly about?
- What is the difference between fact and opinion?
- What interesting facts did you learn?
- What was your favorite fact? Why?
- What text features did you see? How were they helpful while reading?
Here are a few additional ideas for the book club meeting:
- Encourage your child to plan the book club meeting with you. This helps motivate them to feel more invested in the joy around reading and writing!
- Choose a snack – can you link it to the book?
- Plan an extension activity like an arts and crafts project that has something to do with the book. Pinterest has many ideas for inspiration.
- Are you enjoying the book club meeting? If so, coordinate with other parents to have more. To help make this even easier, make it a “potluck” book club for snacks and arts and crafts materials.
- Write and draw about the book and meeting in a journal.
- Keep a log of books read, along with a simple rating like a happy face or thumbs up or down.
- Facilitate a discussion around who you would recommend this book to and why?
Starting a Book Club for Chapter Book Readers
- Have your child pick a chapter book they would like to read. Browse your favorite local bookstores for ideas or talk to your local librarian. They will have plenty of suggestions!
- Have your child invite any friends that might be interested—a small group will likely be easier to work with, but this is up to you and your child.
- Have a planning meeting—either just with your child or invite the whole group. Discuss how the group would like to work. For example, create a calendar and get a certain amount of reading done independently and then meet once a week or once a month. Perhaps the group would rather meet more frequently and read aloud together? Have the group discuss what they’d prefer.
- Check for understanding. Have each child come to the meeting with at least one question about the text that will help them check for comprehension and understanding. This can be as simple as asking questions like What was this part of the book mostly about? What was the most important thing that happened?
Please note that the extension ideas suggested above can also be adapted for chapter book readers.
Parents can join the club
- Reading the same book as your child has many benefits, such as the importance of modeling reading at home and a shared topic for sparking exciting conversations.
- Parents can also have their own book club that meets at the same time as the kids’ book club.
Create Book Club Jobs
For older students, have them “run” the show. They can also give each book club member a job to work on while completing their assigned reading pages. Having a reading focus, such as these book club jobs, also helps boost comprehension. They can rotate the jobs so everyone has the chance to do each job if they would like to. If younger groups would like to do this, a parent with the time to do so would have to help their child coordinate. Some examples of book club jobs might be:
- Summarizer: Comes prepared with a summary of the reading.
- Word Wizard: Comes prepared to share a word that either confused them or that they thought was a beautiful or interesting word. Come prepared with the meaning of the word, too.
- Connector: Did any parts of the book remind the reader of their own life? Other characters? Other books? Making connections helps with comprehension, too.
- Literary Luminary: Are there any parts that made the reader react or feel a certain way? Which part? Why? Ask the group how that part made them feel and why.
- Illustrator: Create drawings and illustrations for the book.
*These jobs can also be recorded in reading journals.
If you and your kiddos start a book club, we hope you’ll come back and share everything that works for you in the comments below. Together we can all grow a world filled with readers.
Thank you for reading the Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing column. Bookmark this Growing Readers Column link or subscribe to our e-newsletter so you do not miss out on the monthly reading tips. How to Help Your Reader Start a Book Club was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.—follow her on Instagram: @wildflower_learning_denver.