First came literature circles, then came book clubs. How do you set up a successful classroom book club that is engaging, authentic, and less work on the teacher?
Follow these steps to book club happiness:
1. Literature circles and book clubs have always been about choice. Gather three to five readers of similar reading levels, and provide them with at least three book choices (more if possible). I've collected baskets of with sets of books over the years, and arranged them by reading level.
2. Allow the students to preview the books, then choose one book that they will each read independently (the same book for every student in the book club).
3. Discuss how long it will take to read the book, and set a book club date. Students should read the whole book before their meeting (just like a grown up book club).
4. Give students a copy of the My Book Club
Thinking booklet to fill out as they read.
6. Facilitate the book club meeting, but allow your students to do most of the talking. You might have to step in to keep the kids on track, or provide a thinking prompt on occasion.
In order to make the most of book clubs, I suggest that you spend time teaching accountable talk so that students learn how to engage in a respectful conversation. Book clubs are a great way to get students excited about reading and talking about books!
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