Book clubs have been a staple in school libraries for years. Usually the same few students show up each time, because they genuinely love books. While every school librarian is pleased that they attend, it would be nice to add more faces to the mix. In order to appeal to the masses, you’ve got to mix it up. But how?
Different Types of Book Clubs
Virtual Book Club
Sometimes students don’t attend because they don’t want to miss their social time. So…have virtual meetings using www.flipgrid.com or www.padlet.com. Set up the club and give students the code to join, then post a prompt. Students can post when they have time. Club members can view the video posts of the other participants, and even respond to them, on their schedule.
Connected Book Club
I have had several book clubs that my students and students attending other schools either in my state or in another state shared the same reading schedule. We used Skype or Google Hangout to connect our students to discuss the book that they’ve been reading. Students love connecting with students outside of their school.
Collaborated Book Club
I have scheduled a book club in which I will be collaborating with a classroom teacher to read a book with her entire enrichment class. I think this will prove to be a great idea.
Book Club Activities
I start my first meeting by discussing the story elements. Students are usually still unsure of the procedures of a book club. I ease further into the discussion by explaining a connection that I have to the book. I strategically choose a connection that will encourage students to respond and share. Students typically always make some type of connection, whether to their self, to the text, or to the world. Since I usually meet with students during their lunch we only have about 20-25 minutes, the first meeting starts slowly but ends with lots of conversation.
Make and Take
I choose some part of the story that students can create and take with them. I recently held a book club, Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry that had an important scene at the annual Moon Festival. So my students made Chinese lanterns of their own. One of my book clubs read Wonder by R.J. Pollacio. Students used www.wordart.com to create a self-describing shape poem using a facial image.
I like to have a food connection during one of our meetings. When I held a meeting for Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell I brought in a couple of party foods from the Victorian era, including a cake with a frozen Charlotte doll baked inside. My students were so excited and a little creeped out, which connected very well with the theme of the book.
When a group of my students read Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen we used Zoom to have a video call with the Denali National Forest to learn about the terrain from the story. It greatly deepened their understanding of the setting and how our character survived.
I have reached out via Twitter to authors of books that we have been reading to have them respond to my students questions, send book swag, or even Skype for free with us.
Book clubs have evolved in the age of technology; embrace technology in your book clubs and see your club thrive.
Author: Ronda Hughes
Ronda Hughes is a Middle School Library Media Specialist in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She has 21 years experience in public education as: a Physical Education teacher, 5th grade Literacy teacher and a library media specialist. Hughes has served as Tri-Lakes Reading Council President, Arkansas Reading Association Intellectual Chair, Alpha Delta Kappa Vice President, and Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Board Member. She has been on numerous committees such as; Arkansas Department of Education K-8 Computer Science Standards and Library Media Standards, Garland County READS, Arkansas Diamond Book Award Committee, Charlie May Simon Book Award Committee, just to name a few.
Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models, Technology
I love all of these ideas! The connected book club could be combined with the digital book club to provide opportunities for students in different states or cities to communicate using Flipgrid, Padlet, or even Skype. Thanks for helping me see new options for bringing readers together!
Thank you so much for your post! You are spot on with taking advantage of the technology out there to reach more students. I’ve used Flipgrid for book reviews, but I never considered using it for a book club. Your ideas for book club activities are very engaging and provide such depth to the literature. Our job is to support and inspire reading, and your post breathes new life into our mission. I’m ready to dive into my next book club with a fresh view!
Thank you both for the feedback! It is nice to hear that your students can benefit from these ideas too. I am in a middle school, grades 5-8, maybe we can connect our students someday.
You can contact me on Twitter @rondahughes10