Because this series has become popular on Pinterest, I’ve decided to run it again.
Read the entire series here:
In an ideal world, you could post information about your meetings in classrooms and school libraries. Teachers would mention your group, provide titles, remind kids of meeting times, and possibly offer incentive / create some sort of tie-in to curriculum. Or better yet, you as the organizer could approach teachers to learn what books or topics they’d love to see their students read about. You could enhance what goes on in the classroom by selecting authors and titles that compliment school work.
Some kids will come prepared to talk. And talk a lot! Others won’t really be sure how to begin. Even if you’ve given them idea starters, know not everyone will remember or even know how to get a book conversation going. Part of your role is to model how this works by coming with your own observations and questions. When kids hear you sharing a quote you think is key to the story or the obstacles a character had to overcome, they learn how to do this for themselves. Discussions naturally start to grow. Kids begin to read with ideas toward what they might share later. It’s an amazing process to watch.
Sometimes talks get so animated, everyone wants to talk at once. I found it helpful to have a way to visually show whose turn it was to speak. We passed around pencils, stuffed animals, and even a Kleenex box to show who currently was in charge. The kids loved this and were (usually!) willing to wait their turn.
To make regular attendance happen, you’ll need a combination of the following: committed kids, involved parents, a regular meeting time and place, consistent communication, a planned-out book schedule, and an easy way for children to get their hands on books. Be willing to be flexible, too. If something isn’t working, evaluate and determine how things could improve. Ask kids and parents for input. Be willing to cancel titles hard to find or add a new book everyone is anxious to read. Plan ahead but be willing to change, if necessary.
And don’t forget: Cookies are always a great draw!
Ultimately, we want kids reading and responding to literature. There’s no perfect way to have this happen, but I can tell you this: when an adult is excited about books and shares this regularly with kids, it’s almost impossible for them not to get enthusiastic themselves.
There is nothing like loving children. There is nothing like loving books. To experience the two together is a gift indeed.