Thank you to Juliette Awua-Kierematen for getting me thinking about book clubs.
I am a big fan of adult book clubs, but I’ve only been in one that I loved. It lasted for two to three years. We’d meet once a month at the houses of the club members. We enjoyed delicious pot luck dinners. We read some really good books and we developed special friendships. The best part of this book club is that it had seven permanent members!
Since then I’ve tried to recreate this experience, but I haven’t been successful.
Part of me wants to think that this kind of book club is possible, even if it only happens once in a lifetime. And, I really want to get my students to experience what this could be like in the classroom.
I have read professional books on this topic. I’ve had book club conversations modeled in the classroom by coaches. I’ve done my own feeble attempts at getting book clubs started.
And, I’m still trying to find the perfect formula, even though the perfect book club isn’t necessarily the ideal we should be striving for.
So, here are some ideas I’m exploring at the moment: (1) Allow kids to self-select their first book. This first experience will be important because it will determine who becomes part of their permanent book club for the year. (2) Book clubs will happen every other month for a couple of weeks at a time. (3) Members of each book club will continue to choose what they will read after the first round of book clubs with the same members. (4) I’m still on the fence about whether or not there should be a product at the end of a book club cycle. (5) Book club meetings will include snacks, whether students bring to share (depending on COVID protocols) or bring their own.
What are your thoughts about book clubs? Have you ever been a member of an adult book club? Have you tried them in your class? What words of wisdom can you offer the rest of us?
I’ll look forward to reading your comments.