Tips for Starting Your Own Book Club

Reading can be more fun when it’s shared with friends. A book club can be a great way to share reading and book related activities with friends. In today’s Read Aloud Wednesdays post, I’m sharing some of the ideas that have worked for us when sharing a book club with friends.

We’ve had the opportunity to enjoy book clubs with other homeschoolers several times. Reading a book independently and then discussing it together or reading aloud and doing some fun activities can make for a great time. Here are a few ideas to help guide your book club time.

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If kids are of different ages, pick a book targeted to the middle age.

I’ve noticed that, in a group, older kids are much more likely to enjoy a book that’s “too young” for them. If everyone else is having fun with it, they will as well. On the other hand, younger kids, for whom the book is a little too difficult, seem to understand it just find and enjoy it because the older kids are. So if you choose a book targeted to the middle age of the group, the whole group can enjoy it.

Have a little structure and a plan at your book club meetings.

When my kids were very young, we met with two other families for a biweekly get together. In this get together, we would take turns preparing a story and activities. The kids loved this time together because, of course, they looked forward to playing. Without a plan, the times together would have turned into just a playgroup time. While that’s fine if you intend to just host a playgroup, we really wanted the book focus. And so we had some structure where we would get the kids together for a story and activities first, then let them scatter to play while we visited.

Use a lapbok or notebooking activities to give the kids something hands on to remember the reading.

In our co-op group, several classes have done a book club. We typically use a lapbook when we do book club so that the kids have some hands on activities to do as we discuss the book. I have often chosen lapbooks from Hands of a Child. You can often find free lapbooks for a particular book by just googling it. Homeschool Share also has a good variety of free literature based lapbooks. Using a lapbook allowed the kids to construct something that helped them remember elements of the book and gave them something physical to look back on and to share with family members.

Consider playing an audio book or dramatization of the story when you are together at book club.

If you’ve chosen a chapter book that kids are supposed to read at home on their own and then discuss at book club, it’s likely that not everyone will have read the book on their own. If your book club is stretching out over several weeks, consider playing an audio book of the story- or dramatization- during part of your time together.

For one of our book clubs at co-op, we read The Silver Chair and completed a lapbook. I own the Focus on the Family radio theater production of The Chronicles of Narnia, so during some of each class period, I played The Silver Chair audio drama. We didn’t have time to hear the whole thing, but by playing some, the kids who didn’t read the book for themselves had an idea of what was going on in the discussions. Audible is a great resource for finding audio books of many great children’s read alouds.

A book club can be a great way to share the benefits of reading with others. Whether you do it through a co-op class or just a casual get together with friends, reading together can be lots of fun.

If you’d like to be a part of a book club, but you don’t have time to start one in real life, how about taking part in an online bookclub? At Hide the Chocolate, you can find online book club options for ten great kids’ books- and more to come. It’s a fun way to find activities and hands-on experiences to make books come alive.

Have you ever participated in a book club with your kids? I’d love to hear about your experience.

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