With new technology fighting dirty in the war for our students' attention, it's more important than ever that we use every tool at our disposal to get good books in front of our children. Book club activities are one such tool.
Book clubs have always been a great way to foster an appreciation for reading that children carry with them for the rest of their lives. In fact, the right book club activities for students can win over even the most reluctant readers in class.
What is a book club?
They aren't reserved for old ladies, if that's what you thought.
Book clubs provide students with an opportunity to enjoy reading in a fresh and dynamic way.
No longer isolated to read on their own, group members choose books they'll read together, then meet to openly discuss the stories read. Students are encouraged to share their thoughts on a book's plot points, characters, and themes. Through student led discussion and creative activities, kids build valuable communication skills while further working to improve their comprehension and fluency.
But reading is something we do on our own.
Is it, though?
Don't we enjoy our latest Netflix binge just a little more when we're able to have a discussion afterward with friends?
The same is even more true with books.
Many students are scared to share their love of reading with others, but book clubs give these children the chance to finally see they're not alone and have nothing to be ashamed of.
That alone is a compelling reason to make student led book clubs part of your school community, right?
What other benefits do teachers see when using book clubs in the classroom?
Encouraging students to share their love of reading with others is only the beginning. Teachers quickly find that a well-designed book club can benefit their students in a variety of ways...
Book clubs hold students accountable
No child wants to be the only member who has nothing to contribute during a book discussion because they didn't read the book.
Kids improve reading comprehension
When students are asked to discuss what they're reading with a group, they're forced to think critically about the material so they articulate their thoughts and opinions. Even on a small scale, this literary analysis can help students to better understand what they've read and retain the material more effectively.
Book club members become more engaged in class
Students who participate in book clubs often have a greater interest in the lesson. As a result, they are more likely to pay attention and participate in group discussions with the whole class.
Students learn important life skills
Book club members learn the importance of teamwork and collaboration. When students discuss books together, they learn to communicate effectively and respectfully disagree. These skills will be invaluable to them as they move forward in their academic career.
Children build a better sense of self
Book clubs provide kids a chance to practice public speaking. For many students, learning to contribute to a group discussion can be a confidence builder.
Students often get better grades
When children are excited about the books they're reading in group, they are often become more motivated to do well in school.
Children improve social skills
Book clubs can be a great way for younger students to socialize with like-minded kids and make friends.
Book club members learn to enjoy independent reading
The biggest reason for group work like this is because it may spark a love of reading for the kids in your class.
How to start a successful book club that will engage students
While there is no definitive step-by-step guide to run book club meetings, there are some thing we encourage so that this fun activity becomes one of your most valued teaching resources.
- Choose a new book you think students will enjoy. Be sure to keep reading level in mind. Consider hi-lo books so struggling readers aren't left behind. Don't be afraid to solicit recommendations from the kids in class. They'll have some great ideas that will help you better understand what book titles are most likely to engage students.
- Decide where the book club will MEET. The school library will work for your first meeting, but teachers with resources can match the location of future discussion with a setting from the book students are reading next.
- Make a game plan. It's wise to have ice-breakers and discussion questions ready to help get students started.
- Create fun club activities students will enjoy.
- Spread the word! Other teachers will help get some word-of-mouth going, but kids will be your best recruiting tool. Ask students to create posters and flyers to promote the book club that they can then share with their friends.
- Plan ways to reward students who participate in book club.
What are some fun book club activities for students that will make reading fun?
Most students envision book club as a circle of grey-haired ladies discussing a dusty book they've just finished over a cup of tea.
But it doesn't have to be that way for your kids!
While discussion will always be the foundation of a book club meeting, there's no reason you can't plan club activities to further engage students....
Dress to Impress
Plan a costume contest for book club members. Encourage students to dress like their favorite character from the reading.
Host a student art show. Provide children with supplies to create a piece of art inspired by the group's current book.
Ask book club members to write a new ending for the novel they've just finished. Let students compare the wildly different ideas they have for ending the same book.
Create tasting tables where students can look through a few books of the same genre. Let members sample the books that catch their interest by sitting down to read a few pages. This is a great way to let students explore genres outside their comfort zone without requiring them to read the entire book.
Find script adaptations for the current book so book club members can plan a performance. While even the most enthusiastic students sometimes hate reading aloud for the group, kids love stepping on stage to play a role in reader's theater.
Hopefully you've inspired independent reading in your students, but you still want to protect against the summer slide. Host virtual book club meetings over the break to help students work through their summer reading lists so they are ready to hit the ground running in the coming school year. Zoom is a great resource for this.
Don't forget about us!
Boosted Books will be publishing an entire line of tween books perfect to get the conversation started at your next book club meeting.