Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Book Clubs are Starting!

I love talking about books with other people, and I love my own adult book club for that reason. I try to bring that love and enthusiasm for sharing a good book into our classroom. All of my students participated in a book club this past month. The book clubs were totally student choice driven; I did recommend a few titles, but my students were truly in the driver's seat. In the month of January, the books that students chose to discuss were amazing:
  • Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
  • As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins
  • The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
  • Rockets and Spaceships (D-K science book)
  • Flush by Carl Hiassen
It was so much fun to listen in to the "big" conversations students were having. Since these were our first book clubs of the year, we still need to work on the dynamics of group conversation, but overall, they did a fantastic job.

After our initial success, I was excited to hear what they might want to participate in next. Last Friday, we met on the floor and took turns sharing books in which we thought others might be interested. I made two suggestions based on books I'd read recently, but the other recommendations once again came from the students. I'm very excited about their new choices (only one of my recommendations made their cut), and I'm looking forward to the dynamics of their new groups.

Books for February book clubs:
  • The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter by John Gosselink - 7 students
  • Danger at the Zoo (American Girl mystery) - 2 students
  • The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch - 3 students
  • The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti - 6 students
  • The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt - 3 students
Not everyone is participating in a book club this time (my requirement was at least 3 book clubs between the beginning of January and the end of May). That's okay. I know that the book that interests them and they might want to share with others could just be down the road.

What I love when I look at this list of books is how different from one another these books are. My hope is that our book clubs reflect the interests of the individual students, and this list of books appears to be a good indication that they do.

For now, I'm so excited to hear the conversations about the books they've selected in February!


  1. Do your students do any blogging? My fifth graders have just started blogging about books they have read using kidblog. Would your students be interested in reading and commenting on some of my students' blog posts about what they are reading? Or if your students are blogging about their books, would you be willing to let my 5th graders read their blogs and comment?

    We would love to open our blogs up to visitors.

  2. Hi CStakey,
    We actually do use KidBlog - we have 2 blogs going right now. Our own class blog, and the blog we share with a 4th/5th grade class in Maine. Their teacher was reading aloud Out of My Mind at the same time I was, and we decided to collaborate.
    So, I very much like the concept, but would want to finish our current focus first. We should be done by the end of the week.
    Would you mind sending me your school contact info so we can't talk more via email?

  3. Karen - This is not about this particular blog, but I wanted your input for my first parent child book club. I have a group of 5th and 6th graders that meet once a month at lunch - The Lunch Bunch Book Club. We are having an evening meeting with parents. How did you all run that evening? Any suggestions would be helpful.
    Thanks, Jill

  4. Hi Jill,
    I have to be totally honest - the way we run our parent-student book talks is totally based on how Bill (my blog partner here) and another teacher run their book club.

    I'll give you a few suggestions, but you might want to search on our blog for "Grand Discussion" or "GREat Discussion".

    Quick synopsis:
    1) choose a date / distribute flyers to students
    2) bring snacks - my librarian I try to have water, something salty, something sweet, and something healthy. :)
    3) together, as whole group, brainstorm "big" ideas in book. We listed them on a big easel and then let groups have conversations at table
    4) we debriefed together about their conversations for the last 20 minutes. Our group was small enough (24 total people) to make that happen

    Hope that helps!