Lunchtime Book Clubs
My name is Michele Sleight, and I am a veteran School Librarian. I currently
teach at Fredstrom Elementary School, in Lincoln. I try to find innovative ways to recreate my program each and every year! This is the story of just one example of something that has worked for me!
Finding time for special activities during a student’s busy school day can
sometimes be difficult. So I thought…what about lunchtime? Our 4th and 5th
Graders typically spend their 30 minute lunch period in the cafeteria. I thought
this would be a great time to target!
To gauge interest in lunchtime book clubs, I pitched this topic to our 4th and
5th Graders. I asked them to fill out a simple application that showed that they
could be committed to meeting weekly in the library, and reading the chapters
that we would be discussing. The amount of interest was amazing! I think about 50 of our 80 students were interested! So how could I choose? I put their names into a hat and pulled out eight (which felt like a manageable number).
Our PTO provided eight copies of Wish by Barbara O’Connor, which was a
Golden Sower last year (when I ran my first club). Our students were SO excited! Some asked do we REALLY get to keep this book? The group that was formed was at different reading levels, but I knew this could still definitely work! The students were excited to be grouped with people that they do not typically interact with during their reading class.
The goal of lunchtime book clubs was to get kids excited about reading and
discussing books, and to show them a book club could be fun! If someone forgot or didn’t have time to read their assignment, I gave them a break, and just asked them to catch up for the next time. At least one parent read each night with their student, and that student reported to me that their parent enjoyed the book as well!
In addition to the reading, it was an opportunity for these students to get to
know each other (and myself) better. It was also an alternative activity to their
typical lunchtime experience. I had so much interest in this club, I ran it during
additional quarters, with different students. It was always a fun time!
Of course I marketed this activity through social media posts. One student
this year said that her mom was scrolling through our Facebook, and saw the
mention of a book club, and asked if she could be involved. Creating a positive reading culture is always a goal for School Libraries, and I think this activity definitely helped us to stretch toward that goal!
If you have any questions about my experience, contact me at
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