Book clubs is another term for guided reading groups. These are determined groups of students on similar reading levels. Book clubs consist of 4 - 6 students and one teacher. The purpose of a Book Club is to dive deeper into texts on the groups right reading level. These groups are not permanent for one school year and can rotate new students in and out of groups, as they progress at their own rate. Book clubs meet for thirty minutes twice a week, with some lesson extensions and projects assigned.
Book clubs are meant to be cozy, engaging, exciting and explorative. It is a fun way to encourage reading comprehension, fluency, engagement, interest, and discussion skills.
Structuring of a Book Club session varies teacher by teacher, book by book, and student by student. This is not a recipe for you to follow, merely a guideline or suggestion.
I use a planning form to frame the guidelines and goals for each book we read in the group. This is a framework to help prepare me as the facilitator. The planning form can be found here. It consists of sections describing:
Structurally speaking, students come to book clubs eager to be there. If they aren't, I'm doing something wrong or they are just not socially ready to be in a small group of this nature. I prefer round tables for ease of discussion. I let the group decide if we're going to either raise our hands to speak (not my choice), or find enough patience and mannerisms to wait until someone has stopped speaking before we do (more natural, but takes a lot of practice!) Each group is different, as well as the personalities in the groups, so you will decide what format works best for your students.
Fortunately, I was blessed to walk into the teaching position with years worth of books already prepared. However, some of these books were very old and some where not taken care of. The priority with finding books for a book club group, is to ensure all of your students has a copy. You can find lots of used copies of books on Amazon. The good thing about building up your library, is once it is there, it is there! Your students can enjoy the book club book each year as you teach. The library is also a great resource, if you are allowed to reserve multiple copies of a book. Don't rush and feel like you "need 40 books for the year." Take your time building up your library and just getting a handful each year. You might also find that the levels change year to year.
Currently, we have a room dedicated to organizing our Book Club books. They are systematically labeled by DRA-II levels for easy access. We have them on high wall shelves for students to not be able to reach them as an appropriate choice during "silent reading," or when they are interested in reading in the classroom. We do not use bins, but rather just a loose structure of making sure the teachers are putting the books back in their proper order and space. Aesthetics is everything!
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