Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Club - How Does It Work?

I often get questions about how I run our Grade 3 book club. I thought I'd create a post so that when the question gets asked I can send people here. I really love book club. Check out the "Book Club" label for more book club posts.

  • The book club is at lunch time, once a month. I have often thought it should be part of our regularly scheduled day, but if we did that the school would have to buy all the books. 
  •  I do a book talk on two books. Sometimes I show a book trailer and sometimes I just talk about it. I try to have read the books I present ahead of time. Although, I don't always keep that rule. The kids vote on a book. I do the voting during DEAR time and invite all grade 3s to come into my classroom to vote. We usually do the voting on the same day we've had the  book club meeting.
  • Students bring their lunches to my room and we eat and continue on through lunch recess. The voting happens after lunch recess, during DEAR, so that students who didn't read last month's book, who think they want to join us next month, can have a say.
  • I'm pretty flexible about being part of book club. Often, with clubs in school, we tell kids once they commit, they have to stick with it. I think some books appeal to some kids and some don't - although, when they don't like a book I really encourage them to still come to the meeting because it makes for a great discussion when not everyone is a huge fan of the book. Plus, as the year goes on, some kids get interested because of the "talk". I want to always be encouraging them to read.
  • I have way too many kids in book club. It's a challenge. I've thought about ways to divide it into smaller groups - but none have been long lasting. One month we read both books that were presented in book talks, and that made for a little smaller crowds. It might be the way to go.
  • I try to pick books that are easily available at the public library or at book stores. I go to United Library Services to buy books for the kids as well. I send home a notice about what book we're reading that month and tell them if they bring the money in by a certain date, I'll go pick up copies. United Library Services gives us a discount if we buy more than 10 copies of a book.
  • I have a laminated card with discussion starters that I pass out at the beginning of our meetings. Kids usually discuss the questions in small groups while they eat their lunch. Once it looks like those discussions are finished we discuss the same questions, and anything else that comes up, as a large group.
  • We usually have an activity to go with the book. We play the name game (put a character's name on one person's back and they can ask yes/no questions), which is a big hit. We might do a craft. We might watch a bit of the movie, if there is one. We might have a treat that goes with the book....anything goes, and it varies from month to month. It's extra fun when we can connect with an author on twitter. I'd love to skype an author in some time. So far that hasn't worked out though.
  • I make up quizzes for the book and put the quizzes on Edmodo in the Grade 3 book club group. The day before book club I tally how many correct answers each person got (easy to do with the grades function). I put all the names on a spreadsheet and then we use a random number generator to pick a winner. The winner can choose a book from my box of new books I keep in my cupboard.
  • We have small discussions on Edmodo as the month progresses. Kids love to post when they've finished reading the book and that's often where the discussions start. I think next year I will start posting questions as the month progresses.
  • I make a book mark with suggested reading goals (by this date be up to this chapter) to help keep some kids on track.
  • If they have not read the book, I tell them they cannot come to book club. Sometimes they come to me to ask if they can come because they're almost finished and have really been trying. I am usually a push over in those cases.

That's about it! As I think of more, I'll add to this post.

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