Hi, I'm Lori Gottlieb. I'm a writer, an avid reader, and a mom. A lot of adults like book clubs, but they're also perfect for kids. Book clubs are a great way to get reluctant readers reading, and also keep avid readers challenged.
So how do you organize a kids' book club? OK. The first thing to remember-- it might be a kids' book club, but you'll also need the parents to have jobs too. I hate to say it, but this is not just an hour of free babysitting. So be sure that the parents are willing to help out with reading at home, take the kids to meetings on time, and prepare the kids for a group discussion.
Next, you've got to pick the right group of kids. It's important that they're close to the same age, and that they're all at the same reading level. Then, choose where you want to hold your meetings. You can have it at a different person's house each time, always have it at your house, which saves on the driving, use a space away from home, like a local bookstore or library, or you could even try a park and make it a picnic.
Now let's get to the books. First, make sure your kid gets a copy on time. If you don't have a hard copy, you can get one instantly on an eReader like this one. It gives you access to over 2 million titles, including those available from your local library. And here's the cool thing. Because it's open format, you can access even more eBooks from other online bookstores.
Second, only assign one book to read at a time, for obvious reasons. Third, define a time frame that works for your group. Make sure that the kids have enough time to get the reading done, but don't space out your meetings so far that they forget what the book was about.
And fourth-- this is probably the most important one-- select titles that tap into the children's interests. Think about things that are going on in school-- friendship issues, everyday experiences, such as sports or holidays. Also consider some of the more difficult issues kids face, like a friend who moves away or the loss of a pet.
Sometimes books really touch a child with a current event. Also, try getting recommendations from your school or the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services. As the kids get older, you can start integrating chapter books. Giving them a list of books and letting them select their own will encourage them to read on their own.
Next, it's discussion time. Give the kids a list of questions to think about while they're reading each week. Keep the questions open ended-- things like, what would you do if you were in that situation? Or if you could change the ending, what would it be?
If the kids are using an eReader, have them record ideas using the note taking tool, so they can talk about that during the book club meeting. And if they find a word they don't know, have them look it up on the eReader's dictionary, or bring those words to the meeting to look up as a group.
Last but not least, make it fun. You can try asking parents to alternate bringing themed food and snacks. You can have the kids interview each other about the characters in the book, or encourage kids to dress up like their favorite character. You might have so much fun, you'll want to dress up yourself.
I'm Laurie Gottlieb for Sony with Howdini. For more great ideas, visit sony.com/howdini.