Great Math Products!
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Base Ten Number Line
Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 5.09.43 PM
Ad
Ad
Multiplication Tricks
handtimes3
Doubles
OneFinger copy
Telling Time Misconceptions
paperplateclock
Ad
Equivalent Fractions
EquivalentFractionswithPatternBlocks2
Simplifying Fractions
FactorRainbow
fractiontiles
Clock Fractions
FractionClockFourths
Math Fact Motivation
MathWarsTrophies
Math Night 2012
100thDayDressUp
Bulletin Board Ideas
flagdoor
Classroom Management
marvacollinspoem2
Lines and Angles
Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 5.05.11 PM
Freebies
TenFlashingFirefliesSlide2
Grab My Button
Teacher Blog Spot
I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas! kevinandamanda.com/fonts
Save $5 at Educents
Ad

The After-School Book Club that Worked For Me

I am teaming up with my dear blogger friend Pat McFadyen, a talented 5th grade teacher,  from Growing Grade by Grade to host a post she has written about book clubs.  We met at a recent TPT conference and have kept in touch ever since. I hope you enjoy!

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 5.09.43 PM

“Book clubs can be a valuable part of a school’s literacy program.  They can:

•Improve student reading fluency
•Present new vocabulary to students
•Introduce new ideas and concepts
•Teach students to consider others’ perspectives
•Teach students to present their own ideas
•Teach students to analyze books
•Encourage turn-taking

However, book clubs can only do all of the things if they work. Not all book clubs work. Here’s what  happened to mine…

About fifteen years ago, I was asked to coach an after-school book club for our 4th and 5th grade students. At the time, I had a self-contained 5th grade class, meaning I taught all subjects, so I felt confident enough with my ELA skills that I thought I could do it. I’d always wanted to have a book club, so I was really excited as I scheduled and organized.

Unsurprisingly, there was no money for books. I had to get really creative digging through old stashes of books in classrooms and the library to have enough copies for everyone to read the same title of a book they hadn’t already read. At this point, I don’t even remember the book we started with, but it doesn’t matter. The results would have been the same.

Within a couple of weeks, the group was experiencing problems. Faster readers were already finished with the first book and anxiously ready to discuss it and move on to the next one. Slower readers were struggling. Less serious club members were using the time as a social club. Over-scheduled kids missed meetings. I was moving away from “friendly book club coach and mentor” to “teacher who has to fuss to get kids to do their work”.  No one was really happy.

We stumbled along like this for a while. I was ready to throw in the towel and tell my administrator that the club wasn’t working and I wanted to close it out. I was dejectedly web surfing one night (and keep in mind this was long before really good browsers – or even Facebook! – so results could be sketchy), when I found a teacher chat group. One wonderful teacher mentioned that she had had good results with a “genre book club”. Instead of choosing one book for everyone to read, she chose a genre of literature. She collected as many examples of the genre as possible and let students pick from that collection. There wasn’t a lot more information, but it stopped me in my tracks.

The advantages of a genre book club flooded my thoughts. I felt that choosing a genre and offering students a selection of different titles within the genre would immediately solve some of my most pressing problems.

For our next meeting, I greeted students with a pile of books – literally! I chose the genre “Humor” to begin with and almost cleaned out our school library of joke books, comic-type books, and obviously funny, funny books. I explained to the book club members what I was doing and why. I very honestly shared why I was disappointed in how the club was going. I made it clear I was not disappointed in the students, but in how a one-book focus and a lack of resources seemed to be limiting our progress and enjoyment of reading.

I explained that we would start with Humor as our first genre study, but would gladly take suggestions for our next one. We would keep the time limit for each genre study open in case we wanted to extend one genre or cut short another one.

During that meeting, I briefly discussed the characteristics of Humor as a literary genre. I made it into a poster for later reference. Then, we dove into the stack of books. Hands reached over each other, searching for an interesting title. In just a few minutes, every student had a book. And…they read.

They read! They quietly, absorbedly read our books. For almost the first time, I saw students enjoying reading in our book club. To keep the momentum going, I kept the books checked out of the library under my name and had the club members check them out from me. They could come by my classroom at any time to return/check out these books as much as possible. When we met the next week, we shared what we enjoyed, what we didn’t enjoy, and how the books fit into the Humor genre.

The school year was almost over by this time and we didn’t have many more book club meetings. We were able to include the Poetry and Short Story genres. Most importantly, we ended the book club on a high note with at least some enthusiasm intact.

Lesson learned: If I ever sponsor another book club at the elementary level, I will seriously consider making it a Genre Book Club. I can’t guarantee this would be the best format for middle school or high school, but as an option for developing readers, the Genre Book Club is a seriously viable option.

In a nutshell, these are the advantages of a Genre Book Club. While offering the same benefits of a traditional book club, it can also:

•Eliminate or reduce the need to spend money on multiple copies of the same title
•Allow use of books from your school library
•Give students more choice in what they read
•Offer students a wide range of reading levels within the same genre
•Offer opportunities for students to read at their own speed
•Provide a feeling of ownership and responsibility over their own learning
•Discover personal preferences in books
•Solidify understanding of the characteristics of each genre

If I coached a book club again, I would also offer a way for students to respond privately about their reading and to encourage accountability. Follow this link to check out my Genre Book Report product.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 5.05.11 PM

How To Start A Genre Book Club

If you are tasked with organizing a book club of any description, here is a list of steps to have it up and running successfully.

1.Always get approval from administration. It’s more efficient to have a plan to present before you approach them.
2.Decide what age/grade range you will include in the club.
3.Decide how many students you can comfortably accommodate.
4.Look at the length of time you’ll have. One semester? Two? A single 9-week grading period? How often will you meet? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Create a schedule – either a list-type or an actual calendar. I recommend a calendar because you can see where holidays and special school activities fall. It is helpful to parents when you send home a calendar with your club members.
5.Pick the days that your book club will meet. It’s certainly better to choose the same day each week or each meeting, but sometimes that’s just not possible. Plug these days into your schedule.
6.Decide how you will invite students to join the book club. Will it be a blanket invitation to a grade level? Will it be a personal invitation to selected students? Will there be an RSVP deadline? If parents must provide transportation, make sure it is clearly stated in the invitation. Consider how much advertising you will do to get the word out.
7.Decide how each meeting will progress. Will you serve refreshments? If so, decide how will you access them, via dedicated funds or parents volunteers.Where will you meet? Will you sit on the floor or at tables? Who will run the meeting? It is nice when students can begin to take on leadership roles of this type, but I recommend that the coach/mentor/sponsor begin leading so students can see how it is properly done.
8.Decide on a potential list of genres that you’d like to explore. Use the attached Basic Literary Genres list FREEBIE to get some ideas. Present your genre list to your club members at the first meeting. Consider letting students decide which genre to study next.
9.When you have your genre list, create a poster or other visual that lists the main characteristics of each one. These will be a handy reference tool. Consider using the 22 posters in my Genre Book Club product.
10.Go ahead and choose the first genre. “Humor” worked for me, but there are many others that would work.
11.Collect the books that you will offer to club members for your first genre. If your school library allows, use as many of their titles as possible. Include a wide range of reading levels in your selection of books.
12.Attend your first meeting. Discuss the nature of a Genre Book Club, your schedule,  and members’ responsibility. Start reading as soon as possible.
13.Enjoy your book club! Remember that you are helping students to enjoy reading and increase their literacy skills. What’s not to love?

Best of luck to any and all who sponsor/coach/mentor our readers! If you ever get the chance to run a book club, consider a Genre Book Club. It just might be right for your students.”

I hope you enjoyed that fabulous post about her book clubs!  Make sure to stop by her TPT store
to pick up a copy of her Genre Book Club product!

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 5.06.12 PM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

Ad
Ad
Ad
Follow Me on Pinterest
Archives
Artisteer - CMS Template Generator