Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A New Approach to Book Clubs

Whether you call them guided reading groups...or book clubs...or literature circles--my guess is you have, at some point, put students in groups to read a book!

I do my book clubs differently ALL the time.  Sometimes the entire class is involved in a "round" of book clubs...we have 4-5 different clubs going at once where we may be working on a genre study or a character study or something like that.  Sometimes I have the class doing reader's workshop on their own books and may pull strategy groups...sometimes just a few students...to work on a certain skill during part of the reader's workshop time.

Right now, I have a few students that are really struggling with comprehension and need a group--but are ALWAYS together because of their struggles.  I decided to take 3 of the students and pulled them aside and told them they were going to be in a book group and showed them the book.  I explained that I was going to offer it to the class to "fill" the rest of the slots in the group...and if they wanted to convince their friends to do it, then great!  (Just a little behind the scenes work!)

I then did a book talk with the entire class and really tried to sell the book ("No Talking" by Andrew Clements).  I made a Google form and had all the students fill out the survey to show their level of interest.


I then took the results and found the three students who showed the most interest and added them to my group.  They were all pretty excited to be a part of this special group...where they all "chose" to be in it (well...sort of).  I told them that it would primarily be a discussion group without much writing or extra work.  It was going to be all about enjoying the book and practicing our discussion skills.

I decided to use some of my "No Talking" novel study but, instead of having the students write responses in their reading notebooks, I passed out the prompts for students to use as bookmarks--and thinker questions to prepare for discussion.

I met with the group each day and we talked about two chapters.  Some days, some students jotted ideas down on the back of their "bookmarks" when they had things they didn't want to forget. We have had some GREAT discussions about competition among students and have had VERY strong opinions about what we think the characters should do!  It has been fun and relaxing and the students don't even feel like they are in class--it's a very "grown up" book club! I love that some of my strugglers were mixed right in with highly engaged readers--and the modeling of thinking was FANTASTIC.  It was a gentle reminder to me that when we consistently put students in "ability" grouped reading clubs, we may be missing some wonderful opportunities for modeling.
 Here is the resource I used for my ready-to-go discussion prompts (they are meant to be glued into notebooks for written work) and some of the other resources included in this resource.
So here's my question.  How do YOU do book clubs?  Do you switch it up or do it in a similar manner each time?  Do you have requirements in your district about how to do book clubs?  Finally, what books would YOU like to see me tackle in my next "Novel Units" resource ?  I'm curious!    Thanks for stopping by.  Interested in seeing my "No Talking" unit?  Just click the image above.  

2 comments:

  1. I think your book club idea is amazing! I actually made my first real friend in 4th grade when we were forced to do a book study in a group of 4, one of the other students and I really enjoyed it and thus the loner I was, made a friend and it changed my life. Maybe your club will have that same impact on someone :) I can hope so!

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  2. My bookclubs are based on choice and blogging. You can read about it here: http://janiefahey.edublogs.org/2015/01/10/21st-century-literature-circles/
    Janie
    Are We There Yet?

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