Rosie and Anya are both avid readers and have been reviewing titles for the Kids’ Picks page in this magazine since they were in elementary school. Now in grade ten, these two students are as keen and as enthusiastic about reading as ever. During the 2016 – 2017 school year they decided to form a book club. They were pleased with that experience and decided to form a book club again this year. They have been keeping me posted on their literacy adventures and together we decided that it would be fun to share their experiences with you. Here is their story.
Where did you get the idea for organizing a book club?
Anya: My friend and I both love reading, and we often discuss books that we have read with each other. One day, while in art class, we were discussing the latest book she had read when I told her we should start a book club. She agreed immediately and thus the idea was born.
Rosie: The idea came from Anya and our friend. They were talking about books and the idea just popped up. I was invited later to help start the club.
Do you have a teacher sponsor? Did you need to ask permission to form your book club?
Rosie: Yes, we have a teacher sponsor. When we started the club we did have to ask for permission and run it by the counselors so they could help us get on our feet.
Anya: Our librarian sponsors the book club and often brings us treats for our meetings. We are forever grateful for her ongoing support! Before our book club started we approached our science teacher to ask if a book club was possible. She said it most likely was and she passed the idea along to the other teachers.
How often does your book club meet? Where and when do you meet?
Anya: Our book club meets every second Monday, during the PLC time, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The PLC time is when the teachers have meetings and what not. We always meet in the library.
How many members do you have?
Rosie: There are about nine or ten of us.
How do you choose your books?
Anya: We usually pick two or three books from the library that we think are interesting and then we have a vote with the other book club members to choose a novel.
Rosie: Anya, another friend of ours and I usually grab a handful of books and tell a little bit about each one. After all of the books have been talked about we vote on one to read.
What format does your meeting follow (how do you share your ideas about the books)?
Rosie: Usually we throw out our thoughts and see where it goes. Sometimes people disagree or agree. Either way it is really fun to see where the conversation goes.
Anya: Usually what happens is we ask each of our members their thoughts and ideas about the book we are reading, then we each make comments about each other’s ideas. We always end up getting off topic though, and discuss the books we are reading, our reading habits and many other things as well.
Can you tell me something that you love about belonging to a book club?
Anya: Something I love about belonging to a book club is meeting new people and learning about all the things we have in common, such as our opinions on book to movie adaptations and how we remember what page we are on while reading.
Rosie: I love talking with people who have the same love as me. Not many people like to read these days, so being with people who like the same genres, authors and/or books is awesome.
Is there anything about being in a book club that surprises you?
Rosie: What really surprises me is how easy it is to learn from other people. Every meeting I always leave thinking, “Huh, I never thought about that scene/quote/scenario that way.”
Anya: Something that I found surprising about our book club is how much in common I have with each of our members. Whether it be our favourite books or characters, I’ve found that I have made a lot of connections with everyone in our book club.
Is there anything about your book club that you would change or improve?
Anya: I honestly can’t think of anything. I love how the book club is going so far.
Rosie: I would like to improve on the system of sharing. It’s currently a free-for-all and I would love to have everyone’s thoughts said.
Are there any other thoughts that you have about your book club?
Anya: I like the conversations we have at book club, where we might discuss our thoughts on book to movie adaptations and whether we liked the books better than the movies. These discussions often turn into fun discussions about which characters we preferred and if the right actor or actress was cast for each role, like in Harry Potter. I am also grateful to our librarian and cannot thank her enough for all of her help with our book club and for supporting us through it all.
Could you please list the titles you have read and the authors’ names?
by David Levithan
Knof Books for Young Readers, 2012
by Adriaan Brae and Rebecca Brae
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
by John Boyne
Penguin Random House, 2006
The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold
Little, Brown and Company, 2002
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brenda has 35 years of classroom experience. She has presented workshops on literacy strategies and has written a number of resources for teachers. She remains passionate about matching up kids with books.
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Winter 2018 issue.