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How to Start A Kid’s Book Club

Oct18

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My kid’s new school is currently a construction area. Actually the school is not a construction area but the playground is. They are currently building the first new elementary school in our district since 1964 and although we’re all very excited to have not just a new building but a building which doesn’t leak in the rain and doesn’t heat up to 1000 degrees all day every day. Even though the new building is very exciting, in the meantime there is no real playground for all the kids to use. Instead they sort of run around the front of the school during lunch recess.

This got me thinking about starting a book club for the upper elementary kids (3-5 potentially) to meet during lunch. This idea had the added benefit of giving my very shy daughter a chance to make some connections with other kids who like books as much as she does. I started researching and thought I’d share all the information I’ve found so far right here in case you want to do something similar.

I was surprised to find just one book specifically about starting and running a book club for kids. The Kids Book Club Book, is an excellent resource. Not only do they give you great book suggestions and discussion questions, they also share great activities to tie into your book. I’m not sure how involved we’ll get in the activities during our one hour meeting but it could be fun to bring in a related recipe.

This is how I’m starting our book club.

After getting approval from the principal and finding a space in the school to hold our meetings, I’ll send out a flier in our Friday school notes with my contact information. As this article which points out, it’s important to create the kid’s book club as a democracy which will keep kids engaged and prevent the project from feeling like ‘more work’ for kids.

Kid's Book Club

At our first meeting we’ll think of a name for our book club and we’ll decide together on the first two books we’ll read. To find books you can follow an established book club, like Al Roker’s NBC book club, or compile several choices in different genres using websites like Scholastic, or even better talk to the school’s librarian. This is the type of task most librarian’s love, our librarian loves it at least far more than she loves helping me figure out the copy machine in the library.

To keep the whole process from getting terribly stressful, I’m going to set up our meetings for every six weeks rather than once a month. Kids, especially at this new school, are incredibly busy with several activities every night. They’ll need the extra time to finish the books and I need the extra time to keep my schedule from getting over booked.
Kid's Book Club

If the school book club doesn’t do much for you, I absolutely love the idea of a mother daughter book club. Real Simple outlines the process of creating and running one here. I think the reason I am so fond of this idea is something my friend, mother of a teenage daughter told me. She said she has always made a point to befriend all the mothers of her daughter’s friends. As a group they’re better able to keep tabs on what the girls are doing when they’re can compare notes.

Now that my daughter is in fourth grade and we’re at a new school I’m feeling especially drawn to start forming relationships with the mother’s of her friends. A book club seems like a low pressure way to do that with the added bonus of getting to open up communication between daughters and mothers because in a few years a lot of our daughters won’t really want to talk to us.

Do you have a kid’s book club? How do you make it work?

About the author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa's Buzz Off.


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14 Responses to “How to Start A Kid’s Book Club”

  1. Caroline Oct 18 at 2:24 pm Reply

    Fantastic idea! Another great resource for starting a kid’s book club is The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. Not only does he talk about starting book clubs (among many other reading topics), he includes a “treasury” of book titles in the back to help choose books for children of all ages.
    My son is only 10 months old, but I’m really looking forward to reading with him as he gets older.

  2. Kathy Oct 18 at 7:09 pm Reply

    GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA SPECIALIST NOW!! ok, sorry to yell, but she/he will be a FABULOUS resource, and also, she/he may already have a book club started at the school. Plus she/he will have other resoruces that might not be available to you (like article from School Library Journal) Also, there are a TON of “kidlit” blogs out there that have great idea about book clubs and also great reccomendations for books.
    It is a GREAT idea – good luck!!

  3. catherine Oct 18 at 10:32 pm Reply

    Scholastic has a kidlit/librarian blogger and she’s great: http://scholasticparents.typepad.com/librarian_mom/

  4. Brynn Oct 19 at 1:37 pm Reply

    This sounds like a great idea, and as a mom, I especially love the added perk of building relationships with your daughter’s friend’s moms. BUT, as a former teacher, I have to say, don’t do it during lunch recess! They need to run around (even if they don’t have a playground). They still need to get moving during that time. These kids sit and think and work all day, they need to move. It might be nice to host your book club in your home afterschool (or rotate homes). THis might create a less hurried, more intimate atmosphere that might spark better relationship building anyway. Have fun! (I hope this post makes sense, I have a baby with the stomach flu and my brain is barely working).

  5. dana Oct 21 at 6:36 pm Reply

    Hi there,
    Many years ago, when my daughter was in the 4th grade, a mother daughter book group was started. This tradition has continued at the school for many years now. A few mothers seem to be at the helm and the book clubs have continued. It seems that the best format is one where the dates and books are chosen at the beginning of the year. In addition to the mother daughter book group, a mother son book group has also been formed. My advice when choosing books is to make sure that contemporary books are chosen. While as parents, we all have favorites that we read as young women, however, so many of these books are dated and our kids have so little interest in them.
    I have to agree with the comment about not doing it during lunch time. The kids so look forward to recess and their free time.
    Good luck. The book club is a great idea!

  6. Julia Oct 22 at 12:11 pm Reply

    What a great idea! I have to agree, recess is not the time for a bookclub. Rotating homes works well. Good luck!

  7. Ginny Oct 22 at 2:00 pm Reply

    We were able to use a room in the public library for our kids book club meetings. Worked great and I never had to host.

  8. Lori Oct 23 at 9:00 am Reply

    I would disagree with the people who said don’t use recess – once every six weeks would be fine. And recess isn’t a fabulous time for a lot of kids – it’s anarchy and the easiest time for the evil ‘queen bee’ girls to get at you. From personal experience, I would have appreciated a day or two NOT to be out there.

  9. melissaS Oct 23 at 11:52 am Reply

    Well I’m hoping to attract the kids who don’t actually run around and would rather socialize during lunch. Kid’s like my daughter who hates the ‘recess’ because all she does is sit and wait for it to be over. We’ll see how it goes.
    Lori: YES!

  10. kate Oct 23 at 1:37 pm Reply

    When I was in school (getting longer ago every day), my mom was a leader for Junior Great Books which met during lunch/recess once a month, I think. We didn’t really have individual books, but the lit book we used had several stories and we read and discussed one at each meeting. It was a program provided through the school. I encourage you to check it out, since the work is done for you!

  11. Kathy Oct 25 at 2:15 pm Reply

    Melissa, I just read a great book, that is abotu a fictional mother daughter book club. The daughters are in 6th grade, butI think girls in grades 4+ would be interested in it – it is a fiction book called The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick. Link at Amazon is here: http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Daughter-Book-Heather-Vogel-Frederick/dp/0689864124/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-5470729-1408935?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193335974&sr=8-1

  12. KATHY Oct 26 at 11:29 am Reply

    Sorry to comment again, but I was just reading the Nov/Dec American Girl Magazine and they ean article about starting a book club. The article is geared toward AG readers, but this might be a good place to start too!

  13. sozzled Oct 30 at 9:48 am Reply

    I have two daughters and therefore two mother/daughter bookclubs and I love them both. Both are structured the same way, we take turns hosting, the girl whose house it is at picks the book and makes a list of questions, we snack (and the moms drink! of course) and discuss the book for about an hour (depending on the book, my younger daughters groups has slightly less discussion) and then the girls hang out and the moms visit.
    I can’t begin to tell you how much I love that time together and the relationships that we’ve formed and the things I’ve learned about my daughters, that being in a bookclub has given us. Keeping the group small (6-8) I think is helpful for the girls to actually discuss, keeping them on task during the discuss and teaching them to respect each others opinions makes it a great experience for everyone…..

  14. Ahalya Jan 05 at 2:10 am Reply

    Hi,
    I live in Mumbai, India. Although I live in a fairly affluent area, there is only one really small library here that caters to adults. There are very few books for kids but I have a few books that I could lend to the reading group.
    The kids here study in English-medium schools, but speak regional languages when they are outside the classroom. This does slow down their acquisition of English grammar and vocabulary.
    Do you think it is a good idea for me to charge the kids some money, so I could buy discounted books to keep the club running?

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