Year One Phonics Testing Do we need it?
Email to ALEA members from the President
Setting up a Book Club
Steps for Setting up a Book Club
Book Clubs can have many purposes as discussed in our New Orleans presentation. Below we describe a Book Club format to promote the enjoyment of reading. This Book Club was run at lunchtime so was completely voluntary, however to raise the ‘status’ of the activity, those wanting to join had to complete an application form.
Step 1. Advertise by displaying posters around the school.
2. Provide an application form
3. Set meeting times.
Our Book Club took place fortnightly at lunchtime in Library.
4. Select quality texts
We began with a variety of books including picture books to ‘get started. We then moved to more complex texts guided by the group’s choices. Having students select their own texts became extremely important.
5. Once students are reading and readily discussing the themes and the author’s craft, try and organise an author visit either face to face or via Skype. Most authors have fabulous websites and we made good use of them. Often there is a facility to email an author via the website and we found those we contacted incredibly generous in responding to our well crafted messages.
6. Make use of technology
There are lots of ways to have students talking about books between sessions. Blogs, and wiki spaces can be used. We set up an edmodo site which was restricted to the book circle groups and a place they could talk about books. It proved to be secure, easy to use and very popular with the Book Club students. www.edmodo.com
7. Communication between sessions
Once again blogs, edmodo and other options can be used for this. We produced a newsletter which was posted on edmodo but also provided in hard copy as many students did not have home access to the internet.
Book Clubs are fun. In the example described we did not ‘teach’ because our focus was to increase reading for pleasure. We talked, sometimes had treats, looked at author websites, shared favourite ‘bits’ from the book and delicious words we discovered and talked some more.
The following year, several Year 6 students (who had participated in Book Club in previous years) ran their own Book Club, inviting younger students to attend. With minimal support from the librarian, the students organised themselves to rotate leadership of the discussion, prepare the newsletter and provide reminders to group members. It proved to be very effective and popular with the students who applied to attend.
When asked about the experience, the responses were very positive. See the response from J below.
What have you enjoyed most about leading Book Club? Being able to organise special things at Book Club like organising visitors or a special book (being first to read new books).
What has been the biggest challenge? Making sure everyone enjoys book circle and the books we read. We vote, ask for suggestions and mix up the authors.
Which book have you enjoyed the most? White Ninja by Tiffany Hall. I had read it before and liked discussing it with the group. It was kind of exciting knowing what was going to happen.
If you could change one thing about Book Club what would it be? I can’t think of anything as it is good, the types of books we read are good and the people in Book Circle seem to love it.