Because this series has become popular on Pinterest, I’ve decided to run it again.
Read the entire series here:
Book clubs can take some work getting off the ground. If you’re interested in starting a group, first think through the kind of community you’d like to form. Will this be a parent / child group? Will members be both boys and girls? Will they all be in the same grade? Will the book club have a theme of some sort?
Groups of all sorts are doable, though different approaches will be necessary in beginning and maintaining your special club. If you decide to work with all boys, for example, be aware active games might need to be incorporated into your meetings.
You’ll need to advertise your club in some way, whether it’s through informal conversation with other parents or through flyers distributed at the public library or (with permission!) your child’s school. As a teacher I was able to draw from my own students and those in other grades. This gave me an advantage but wasn’t a guarantee kids would attend.
Be sure to determine when and where you’ll meet and keep this as consistent as possible. If at all possible, print this information and make sure to distribute it not only to the children but to parents, as well. My after-school groups met on Thursdays, the youngest group on the first Thursday of the month, the middle group on the second, and the oldest group on the third.
Be prepared to remind kids of this commitment. More than once. While teaching, I was able to keep the date of our next meeting listed with daily assignments. I’d mention it briefly every day. Did kids forget? Absolutely. Several usually had to call home the day of the meeting to let parents know. When I was no longer teaching, this was more of a challenge. I asked the dates to be listed in the school calendar and newsletter. Teachers posted flyers in their classrooms. Kids still forgot. If you’re the only adult involved in your group, be prepared for this. Even responsible kids sometimes flake out. It’s just the way things work.
If you’re running a thematic group (fantasy, contemporary young adult, classics, historical fiction), your list will be easier to form. Book selection can be done as a group or on your own. I found, as the only adult in the groups I led, that it was easiest to pick all books beforehand. This way I was able to familiarize myself with titles (or re-familiarize), I could make sure kids had access to books, and I could plan ahead.
The school generously donated money to buy inexpensive paperbacks of the titles I’d selected. Of course, if I had more kids than books, some chose to purchase their own copies or check them out at the library (in situations like this, I’d hold a lottery for the copies I had to share). Planning ahead allowed parents to buy books, request books at the library, and schedule after-school activities with book club in mind.
What advice do you have about starting a book club?