Have budding readers in your house? If they’re anything like ours, they don’t thrill at the thought of doing summer workbooks to keep things fresh for the coming school year, but the idea of a summer book club may be the ticket! Here are a few tried and true tips to help you along the way.
*Get families on board.
The book club will work best if there are at least 3 families (including your own) participating. Since most schools end in May or early June and start back in August, this gives you at least 3 monthly times to meet. If you have younger children, you may want to meet twice each month since the books won’t take as long to read, and you may even be able to cover more than one at each meeting. Each family gets a chance to host and select the book, which for the kids, is the best part. They can choose something with their own special interests in mind and it’s wonderful to see how animated they get during the book conversation.
*Let the kids lead.
This works especially well if you have older kids (7 and up), so that they can choose the books they want to read, and then lead the discussion at the time of the book club. Many novels now include discussion questions in the back or online, so this is a great place to start for them. Parents can always jump in to help spur the conversation, too, but the kids should feel ownership and pride over what they’re doing. Easy questions to start with might be to ask which character they most related to, how does their life differ from the story line, how did certain scenes make them feel, were there situations with which they could sympathize, etc.
It never fails that in a large group there will always be a few kids who are more outgoing than others. Encourage involvement by all participants by playing games. If you have a beach themed book, take a beach ball and write questions on each stripe. As the kids toss it around to each other, they get to pick the question they feel most comfortable talking about.
*Go all out — or not.
We enjoyed hosting our book clubs, as we loved to create fun foods and decorations themed around whatever book the kids selected. All of the participants seemed to enjoy trying new things and just being part of the fun of it all. Whether you choose to serve simple, light refreshments or go all out, makes no difference. Just have fun with it and know that the kids will, too!