Book clubs are usually regarded as reserved only for parents. A typical scene is adults gathered in the living room, sipping on a beverage, and talking about that exciting scene in their last read. However, book clubs can be much more than that, especially for children. These clubs give their members the opportunity to encourage each other in reading (and all the benefits that come along with it); collectively immerse themselves into their book’s reality, leaving their own behind if only for a moment; and make new friends along with strengthen existing friendships.
Children already have such vivid imaginations and what better way to develop creativity than through books. The idea of a club may not initially seem exciting to them, but gear your ‘pitch’ toward one of their favorite things. For example, if they love robots, suggest some futuristic novels about artificial intelligence.
Filling the club with your children’s friends is a surefire way of making it more enjoyable. There are several issues that need to be taken into consideration in planning, such as book genres to read and discuss, as well as convenient schedules and locations. Be flexible as book clubs are not obligated to center around one theme. At the start of a new club, have your children choose one or two books of their liking and then discuss with the other members of the group and their parents what types of books they would like to read.
Hosting the club once every two weeks or more makes scheduling easier and gives the children the opportunity to make reasonable headway on their reading assignment. Remember - it is unlikely that this is the club members’ only extramural activity, so discuss their existing schedules with their parents to come up with the best schedule and time for the meetings. When there actually are meetings, have a plan as to what should be accomplished in each session. They can discuss their favorite characters, make chapter/book predictions, relate the novel to an aspect of their lives, or act out their favorite scene. The possibilities are endless! Be prepared and organized so that the sessions run smoothly and children are encouraged to return.
It is critical that you find a good location for the meetings. Club meetings should be hosted in a convenient location and have enough space to seat everyone comfortably, including parents who may want to sit at a distance and listen. Perhaps rotating among members’ homes would be acceptable.
A further encouragement for your children’s participation would be having another “fun” activity planned afterwards that they can all look forward to. For example, they can participate in the book club meeting and then go to the movies together.