Sunday, January 23, 2011
The Sunday Salon - Book Clubs in the School Library - Part 1
Year 1 - had book clubs during lunch periods with separate ones for boys and girls at the 8th grade level. I picked and library purchased ALL of the books! I also set the dates and led the discussion. I also ran a staff book club in which I picked recent and/or popular Young Adult titles and we read and discussed what would be appropriate for middle school students.
Year 2 - had genre book clubs; one fantasy and one Young Adult. Again I picked books only this time we met after school. Library bought four copies that were kept in special spot for clubbers. I also priced and purchased books for students. They had a date they had to get the money to me and I placed one huge order. I had another teacher assist me with the YA club and that really helped! Adults read the Twilight Series and the Luxe series.
Years 3 and 4 - back to grade level at lunch. I picked the books and we only met from January - May. The library purchased the books for 6th and 8th but 7th had too many students so only purchased 1/2 the number of books. All grades read Nation by Pratchett so I have many copies of that title. My plan was to use the same books each year but students have a tendency to tell others and they'd already read the books. Adults did a Mock Newbery from September to January with library supplied books.
Year 5 (present) - I did a Mock Newbery club before school from September to January where I supplied the book list and purchased 1, 2 or 4 copies of the books. I also let the public library know so that students could go there and get books. We met at library before school. Books were always out or had holds and the more other students heard us talking, they wanted to check out those books too! A few Language Arts teachers did a Mock Printz club with library supplied books.
January - this year the library has a smaller budget due to dwindling Scholastic Book Fair monies. Since we've done Mock Newbery or Mock Printz clubs, Scholastic hasn't offered us much that we don't have. Also, LA teachers are avid bookclub users so students have most of the books they want at great prices! Good for them, but gives me less "extra-curricular" class to buy additional copies of titles.
I've had the most success when I've hosted them during lunch (20) or before school (14) for 7th graders and after school for 8th graders(10). I've had limited success with 6th graders (6) and I like to think it's because they haven't been in a book club before!
I've also had authors donate books (Maureen Johnson, Heather Vogel Frederick, Deborah Heiligman) or their time (Cinda Chima, Fran Cannon Slayton, Stephanie Hale, Jacqueline Kelly, Kathi Appelt) or bookmarks (Rebecca Stead, Christina Diaz Gonzales, Heather Vogel Frederick) which has really helped increase student involvement in the club! (hopefully I'm not forgetting anyone or anything!)
Except for during the summer, we've always met in the school library. In the summers we've met at Borders, Barnes and Noble, and a local coffee shop that has since gone out of business.
Do you do book clubs? What's your secret? Are you in charge or students? Where do you host them? Do you have them on the weekends or doing school days? Who picks the books?
If you have any information whether about adult, student, or teacher book clubs, please share in comments or email me!