It can be difficult sometimes to encourage children to read, but it’s rewarding when kids are excited about reading books. A great way to build a love of reading in children is to start a book club. They’ll find it a lot more fun to participate in a book club with their friends and other kids to share the experience and love of reading with. Here are some helpful ways to start your own kids’ book club.
1. Choose a Book Club Theme
The best way to get kids excited about a book club is to create a central theme that’s important to them and matches their interests. Try to find a common interest among them, such as a type of book they all like, or a series or author that’s popular among them. Then, it’s time to come up with the name of the book club, which will help the kids feel engaged and part of something special. Writer Harry Summers suggests to “pick a name that’s catchy and the kids will appreciate. You can get them involved in the process by thinking of a few options and then having a vote at the first book club meeting.”
2. Settle on Details
The next step is finding out how many participants you want to have in the book club. There are issues if you have too many or too few, so it’s all about finding the perfect middle ground. If it’s too big, the shyer kids won’t participate, and if it’s too small you’ll have trouble getting a good conversation going. The perfect amount seems to be between eight and fifteen children. You should also choose a consistent meeting time and location. It can either be in a local library, which often has space to use for that purpose, or you can rotate through participants’ homes.
3. Ask for Volunteers
At this stage, you should ask the parents of the other children if anyone is interested in volunteering. This would involve making sure all the kids are comfortable as well as engaged by facilitating conversations. You can also set up carpooling with other parents to the meeting location. Someone should oversee communication with the kids in the book club or their parents. Important information like meeting schedules, book suggestions, or photos from events can be shared through email, social media, or text. Find a method that works for everyone and stick with it.
4. Find the Right Timing
An important decision is how often to have a book club meeting. Kids often have a lot of extra-curricular activities, so you’ll want to plan meetings well in advance. You don’t need to meet any more frequently than every three to six weeks. You should figure out the best day of the week and try to always hold it the same day and time. Each meeting should be about 60 to 90 minutes.
5. Get Snacks
This is a kids’ book club after all, so you want to have a lot of fun snacks on hand during your book discussions. Find out if any kids have allergies, and be sure to offer a variety of healthy food that doesn’t create a big mess. If you can swing it, snacks that match the theme of the book club are perfect!
6. Choose the Reading Material
Now it’s time to get to the core of the book club: the books. Come up with a list of good book ideas that the kids can pick their choices from. Educator Don Forsythe says, “You should speak to the local library for some recommendations of books at the right reading level. You can also ask the kids participating for some suggestions. Every meeting you can have a vote for the next pick from that list.”
7. Have Conversation Starters
You might have to help the kids with conversation topics, at least at the beginning. It can help at this stage to have some questions prepared to ask if you find the conversation waning.
Aimee Laurence, tutor for Do My Essay and Custom Essay, writes ideas about teaching, education, and curriculum modernization. She enjoys finding new ways to make learning exciting for young kids and helps parents engage their children. Aimee also works in HR for UKWritings.com as a freelancer.