If you’re looking for ways to engage child in reading, consider a starting a book club. The beauty of a book club is it can be as simple or elaborate as you like.
A few summers ago, our family picked Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things, gifted a Kindle version of the book to grandparents, and held our club meeting during vacation when we would all be together. We selected book club questions from the publisher, discussed the story, then enjoyed snacks.
It was a memorable way for us to enjoy a new book, for grandparents to spend time with the grandchildren, and for us to have a new family activity. That particular meeting was timed around a family vacation, but Skype and FaceTime meetings also work.
Here are some basics for starting up a Book Club.
Who will be a part of the book club?
Decide on who will be a part of the book club. For the first one, you can keep it simple, then enlarge the circle if your child enjoys this.
- Will it be just you and your child?
- Will it be everyone in your household?
- Will it include extended family members?
- Will it be an all child book club?
- Will it include other parents and children?
What will you read?
You will want to consider the reading abilities of all of your participants and will want to select a just right book. You can also consider audiobooks resources like Overdrive, which is available for free through many public libraries. Be sure to ask your children’s librarian or local bookshop clerk for suggestions. For older children, Newberry award novels are a great place to start.
When and where will you meet?
Decide on a time and location for your group to meet. You could meet at a park, at someone’s house, or even your local bookstore. If you’re involving out of town relatives or friends, consider using Skype or FaceTime to connect everyone together.
How does the meeting work?
A basic format is to greet members, discuss the book, enjoy some snacks, and plan for the next gathering. Check with the book’s publisher to see if any book club or discussion questions are available online. It helps if you have a designated person guide the book club’s discussions to keep everyone as focused as they can be.
- Here are eight questions to get your discussion started:
- What did you like the most about the book?
- What would you change about the book?
- If this were made into a movie, what actor would you want to be the lead character and why?
- What question do you have for the author?
- What lessons or messages was the author trying to share with the book?
- Which character was your favorite and why?
- Which character are you most like and why?
- Which character did you like the least? Why?
Will you have snacks?
You could go all Pinterest-y and come up with snacks that align with the book theme or era. Perhaps you’ll enjoy Swiss cheese and crackers for Holes by Louis Sachar or Turkish Delight for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis of the Narnia stories.
One of my favorite ways to make any food match a theme is to just rename the food. Your book club might nosh on Little House Logs (pretzel sticks) for any of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder or Wizard & Witch Wands (pretzel rods) for any Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling (LINK “Harry Potter” to a scholastic.com or the publisher).
Digging into a book is always fun, but discussing it with others makes it even more memorable. Go ahead, give it a try and see what you think.