A wonderful and effective way to motivate children to read, and to encourage their love of reading, is to start a book club for kids. While the idea of starting a book club may seem daunting, we are here to help with everything you need to create your very own children’s book club. It’s definitely a fun experience for children to be able to share what they are reading with a group of friends.
Choose a theme for your book club
If you are trying to encourage a group of kids to read or to engage in a book club, choose a theme that is sure to spark interest. Books about cars, graphic novels, superheroes, detectives, or even books from one author or series – the ideas are endless! This theme can change monthly or can be a constant for the same group of kids.
Find the best way to meet
Book clubs are an ideal opportunity for kids to get together using a virtual platform (zoom, google hangouts, whatever works best for your group). Having an online forum will also allow friends in different cities (and even countries) to have the opportunity to connect. Want to take the connection even further? Consider having the children send each other letters in the mail about what they think of the books.
How often should you meet
We like to aim for a meeting once a month (or sometimes once every two months), which gives children time to read the book (while also completing homework and other activities) and also gives parents time to prepare for the meeting. Having some time between between meetings will also give the children something to look forward to every month.
Make it delicious!
In our experience, treats and snacks are key to a memorable book club! This can be as simple as something store-bought or, if you have more time, something you make with the kids either before or during the book club.
Add a craft or activity
Consider including a book-themed craft or activity, anything from making book marks, drawing a scene from the book, dressing up as their favorite character or even making a comic book. The activity helps children to become more comfortable with sharing ideas and it’s a good way for them to discuss the book in a less structured way.
Name your club
Encourage the children to brainstorm to think of a name for their book club. This will help them to feel more invested in the group.
Use all the resources
Most authors have websites and many are now reading their books online or providing online activities relating to their books and characters. Think about showing clips before or during the bookclub to keep kids feeling engaged and creative.
Provide a reading guide and questions
Kids may need a little help with keeping the conversation going, so it’s a good idea to keep a guide handy with questions that are specific to the book and also a list of more general questions to help move the conversation along. Sometimes, though, kids find their own flow and do just fine without the questions.
Make it memorable
Even in times of social distancing, we can make book clubs memorable. Think about sending a small token (a bookmark, a collage, a card) related to the book to each participant before each meeting or afterwards.
And a note for those of us with very young bookworms at home:
Consider including the youngest kids
Although we traditionally think of books clubs only for independent readers, even very young children can benefit from sharing the experience of reading with friends. For their book club, a parent may offer to read a picture book to the group and the children can work on a craft or activity together and sing a song or explain what they liked most about the book.