How to Start A Kid’s Book Club
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.
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.
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?