Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Clubs: In Our Kids' Voices

Today, as I visited each of the classrooms, I had the opportunity to spend some time in a fifth grade classroom while the children were meeting with their Book Clubs. Each Book Club had anywhere from four to six students and the children were discussing their most recent readings and thoughts related to the text. I couldn't leave the room because I was so engaged and impressed with their work!

Although the Book Club I observed today was unfolding in a fifth grade classroom, they are happening at every grade level from first grade and up. Each time I happen to stumble upon a group meeting, I am completely blown away by their focus and level of conversation that they can sustain for over 10 minutes (usually longer) without any teacher support. Check out this clip of one of our second grade Book Clubs in action...

The Book Clubs typically start with the children working together as a group to self-select their book of choice. They work collaboratively and consider many factors when picking a "just right" book such as the length, readability, genre, etc. Check out this group of Grade 1 kids picking out their book for the Book Club experience...

After spending time reviewing and selecting titles, each group typically generates their own "contract" or set of rules/expectations that they will follow to successfully facilitate the Book Club experience without much teacher support. The children are responsible for assigning and completing their own homework, they are expected to take notes on different things they want to discuss with the group during their upcoming meeting and they use post-its to track their thoughts as they are reading. Overall, the Book Club experience has completely taken our Reading Workshop to another level and I highly recommend launching them in every elementary school! If you don't believe me, check out this letter one Book Club wrote to me today - I think its pretty convincing about the power of the Book Club for kids...

Dear Mr. Sinanis,

We think that book clubs give kids a chance to share ideas and post-its about the book. Especially when a big event in the book happens and we can share it. Also, the book club gives a chance for slow readers to go at a good pace for them and their group. It is also great to lead our own discussions.

Our top 5 reasons why we like book clubs:

1. We share our ideas and our peers know what we were talking about. So we can have a debate/argue and learn.

2. We go at a good pace so people aren’t ahead or behind.

3. We can help people who don’t understand what is going on in the book.

4. We can express what we think and people can agree and disagree.

5. It is really fun how people are reading the same book as you and you can relate to them.

The Fantastic Five (Our Book Club Name)

1 comment:

  1. Such a joy to read your blog post today. Amazing to see how kids handle themselves when given freedom and responsibility. Great work with your Book Clubs! Hopefully it will motivate others to give it a try. Thanks for sharing?