Do you host a book club with your students? Did you know hosting a book club is as inexpensive as the cost of postage?
Book clubs are a great way to connect with students of all ages and backgrounds in your school. The benefits of book clubs go beyond the obvious that students are reading. The connection students make with each other socially is one of the largest benefits that I see. Kids who would otherwise not cross paths with each other due to grade level differences or interest level differences come together in book club. New and differing perspectives are shown in book clubs. Trying new books and genres is another one of the bonuses students gain.
Book clubs look different at each age level you host. For instance, our junior high book club is exclusively for middle grades. At this level, we set small reading goals for each week. Then at the high school level, our book club is open to anyone in grades 9-12. Again, we read in weekly increments, but we read a bit more aggressively. The key to both book clubs and the gathering time is one common factor. Food. What teenager doesn’t appreciate/devour free food? Even if I suspect that students aren’t reading and just coming for the food, we sometimes set a rule that until a contribution, question, or comment is made no food is consumed. Most of the time, the interest from the book makes kids want to read. Some students operate on the guilt they feel from not contributing to the discussion, which is enough to make them read for the next week.
No matter what your book club looks like, how wonderful is it to see students generating or possibly cultivating an interest in reading? That’s what we live for as school librarians. Where can you get books without breaking your entire budget? We have wonderful collections available from our regional library systems. Three Rivers, Southeast, and Central Plains Library Systems all have book club kits available to borrow. Your only cost is return shipping. In addition, many libraries across our state offer book club kits that they are willing to share. The Nebraska Library Commission also has book club kits available to borrow.
What’s stopping you? Why not give book clubs a try in your library?
- Crys Bauermeister
This blog is a joint effort by members of the NSLA Executive Board. We hope to provide relevant information, tips and tools to help you in your journey.