It may take a few tries to find the best approach for you and your students. Be creative, keep the lines of communication open and be prepared to make changes as needed. Here are a few approaches that have worked for other schools.
What to read
Choosing what to read is a great discussion in itself. Everyone in the club could:
- read the same book and discuss it together
- read a book from the same genre / based around the same theme / by the same author and tell each other about it (without spoilers!)
- do a challenge together, such as read a book a week or read a classic
- bring along whatever book they are reading and talk about it.
Tip: Having a ‘special collection’ of titles just for your book club members gives them something special to look forward to. You can buy books especially for them, or give them first choice of your new books.
Who can join
When it comes to membership consider the following:
- Will your club will be open to everybody?
- How will people find out about it?
- Will teachers be included?
- Will parents be included? if so in what capacity? as members? helpers?
- If you are targeting a group of students, how will you approach them?
- How will you build buzz around your club?
Sample book club instructions
Bring to each meeting:
- your book
- 2 to 3 prepared comments about your book — these can be based on answers to the general discussion questions.
Warning: beware of spoilers when discussing your book! Don’t reveal too much information if other members haven’t read it yet.
One person acts as group leader each time the club meets. The group leader:
- starts the discussion by introducing and discussing their book
- encourages each member to participate
- keeps the atmosphere friendly and make sure everyone’s opinions are treated with respect.
When you run a meeting, you could follow these steps.
- Get everyone settled and start off the discussion by introducing your book and discussing one of your prepared comments. Ask for feedback from the group.
- Continue the discussion by asking other members to introduce their books and contribute their prepared comments.
- If all the prepared comments have been discussed then ask for other points. Use the general discussion questions if you need ideas.
- Discuss connections between your books, for example, whether:
- the genres are the same — why or why not
- the characters, settings or themes are similar or not
- At the end of the meeting:
- ask for a volunteer to be the next group leader
- give everyone a chance to pick a new book
- set the next meeting time and place.