Book Clubs #3 – Activities and Interactives
Over the course of this mini series we have looked at starting a book club and all the things to consider when you are setting a book club up. We have also looked at how to promote your new (or old) book club and recruit members. Now I want to talk about all the fun activities and interactive things you can do with your book club. These ideas range from the simple and quick to the more complicated. Some you can do for free or with the resources you have, others will need planning and budgeting.
Book Clubs #2 – Promoting and Recruiting
If you haven’t already checked it out, start by reading part 1 in this 3 part series about creating and running book clubs. In this second part, I am talking about promoting your book club and recruiting members.
Spread the Word
So, you’ve decided to start a book club. Maybe you already have a few students on board. You have talked to possible recruits and decided your who, what, when, where, and how. If you have done this in consultation with your possible members you should already have some people ready to join. But, whether you are starting from scratch or just want to swell your numbers, you will want to let people know you have a book club and how they can join.
Book Clubs #1 – Getting Started
I love, love my school library book clubs. So much love. I love having the opportunity to chat with our readers, to compare ideas, argue about what makes a good book, laugh, have fun, celebrate reading and just chill out. When you think about all the extra curricular activities that happen in a school, so many of them are focused around sport, music or art. Reading is so important and yet there are only a few extra-curricular activities that give readers a chance to connect. Reading can also be a very solitary hobby, so it is important to give our young readers a chance to get together in a safe space. Book clubs are the perfect solution.
When I think about what I love most about the school library I work in, my answer is without a doubt the students and especially the members in my book club. I use them as a place to connect with the students, as a chance to bounce ideas off my keen readers, get their insight into new books and the best books in the collection.
So, you want to start a book club. You’re convinced, you think it’s a great idea. But maybe you’ve tried to start a book club before and it didn’t work out. Or maybe you are just not sure where to start. In this 3 part series, I will share all my book clubing experience, the ideas that worked for me, and those that didn’t. I encourage you to give school library book clubs a go (or maybe another try).
Running Online Book Clubs for Students
COVID-19 might have made online book clubs necessary for the past few weeks, but I have always allowed our school students to connect online. During COVID social isolation and schooling from home, our book clubs connected online and via video chats.
Online book clubs for students might look completely different depending on what platforms are available to each school and how each book club operates. I share here what worked for our school library and students and some of the things I learnt.
At my school library, we have weekly book clubs that are divided by age group. For the past few years now I have been running a Year 6-12 book club that meets weekly to talk about what they are reading and writing, take a look a new books, argue about cliff hangers vs edge grippers (a term we made up, we believe), hold unofficial book launches and generally have lots of fun each week. I also run a weekly Year 3-4 book club and we do similar things, but also read aloud from a picture book or novel and colour in or do bookish craft. Our awesome library technician runs the Year 1-2 group and I was also recently approached by a group of students wanting to create a new Year 5-6 group. For more book club ideas check out this post.
When COVID hit and schools were closed, I turned to online measures to keep our readers connected.
An Online Platform
Our school uses SchoolBox as an online learning management system. When that was launched I asked leadership for a Book Club group page for my Year 6-12 book club. Since then, we’ve been chatting, holding quizzes, sharing book-related Pinterest boards, giving book recommendations, sharing our writing and taking polls to determine everything from our favourite genres to preferred reading locations. Having an online area for the members to connect has allowed those not so vocal in meetings to have their say. It’s also added an element of fun to the group with quizzes, videos and polls. Members who can’t always join the lunchtime weekly session can stay apprised of group news.