Book clubs can be a beneficial method to encourage reading, writing and a love of language arts in adults and children. They can be hosted and started at any grade, for any age and even as an out-of-class club. Small groups of students and teachers can participate -even parents. The possibilities are endless!
Determine the Purpose of the Book Club.
Why do you want to host a book club? Is it to introduce a particular topic? My daughter, in 8th grade, participates in a book club at school which focuses on the holocaust. She was ecstatic to join as she loves history and wanted to learn more about World War II. Other purposes may be:
- Gathering friends or social night.
- Learning a particular topic.
- Introducing a new genre.
- Promoting reading and learning.
- Opening up to new opinions and points of view.
Determine Your Audience.
Who will be invited to your book club? Do you want it to be only women, men, housewives, part of a team? One of my favorite book clubs occurred while I was working at Purdue University. My student success team read a book together and met once a month during lunch to discuss. From this group, I was open to new ideas, thoughts and generated a discussion that otherwise may not have happened. The other point to consider when determining your audience is to recall that your audience will be based upon your purpose for the book club.
Determine Where, When and Frequency to Meet.
Simply answer a few questions! Where do you want to meet? In a home, community center, library? Do you want the same location or would you like to alter it? How often and when you do you want to meet? This can be the most difficult question of all, especially when you are attempting to accommodate many different schedules!
My favorite method to determine a time to meet when working with large groups is to create a Doodle Poll at:
The website is free and very user friendly. Frequency is simplest to determine when in person.
When deciding this things for the a book club in K12 situations, always be sure to talk to your administrators. Keep your book club meetings on campus, as much as possible as it helps with liability issues. Invite other teachers to join you as you organizer your book clubs! It’s always fun to collaborate.
Determine What to Read.
If you’re the organizer, bring suggestions. Bring your favorite books. Ask your fellow members to bring their favorite books. Remember the purpose of your book club. If you are focusing on a particular topic, that will limit your choices.
What’s most important in organizing a book club? Simply enjoying the journey and the relationships you build through it.
By Tracy Harrington-Atkinson
Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, a master’s in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.