Did someone say book clubs? Getting started with book clubs in upper elementary classroom can benefit all of your students, from the reluctant reader to the one that lives in the library. Few things excite me more than having motivated readers in my classroom that want to gather and talk about what they’re reading. Don’t think book clubs are just for your overachieving bookworms, however. I started using book clubs in my classroom since Spring of 2000 and I wanted to share a few tips to help you get started.
Getting Started with Book Clubs in Upper Elementary
Whether you’re starting book clubs within your class or as a club, let your students choose the books they will read. If you have budgetary confines or limited class copies, find books with multiple copies in the library or check out reduced used book sales on Amazon or other sites.
If leaving the book choice wide open may be too overwhelming for your students, provide a list based on their appropriate reading levels and interests. Differentiate instruction by allowing students to form literature circles or mini book clubs to read different texts within your class.
I often buy sets of books off Scholastic and Amazon. I try to purchase when they runs sales for dollar books, also Half Priced Books and Barnes and Noble have great teacher discounts. Some of my favorite sets I have purchased for my class are:
- Because of Winn Dixie
- A Fish in a Tree
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
- The One and Only Ivan
- The Tiger Rising
Integrating activities for Book Clubs in Upper Elementary
Book clubs are so much more than just reading and discussing. Have your members take on roles, play games, and participate in creative activities like the plethora of resources shared in my book club activities bundle. Using these resources can also make it easier to integrate a book club into your reading curriculum. Activities align closely with many standards and objectives. Many standards such as summary, book reviews, making connections, recognizing cause and effect, and making predictions in literature are included.
I created my Book Club Bundle with all the must haves for book clubs, from direction charts, reading stems to use during book talk discussions, accountability activities,
games to use, flip books and other resources. I love how when students talk about their favorite memories from my class they always bring up book clubs.
Tips on how to introduce book clubs in your classroom
- Books: The most important thing is having books available for your students to read. As I mentioned above I purchase many of my books but you should check with the school and ask local area libraries to extend check outs for you to use in your classroom. I love using books that are popular with students because they will show more interest in reading if they know the book is being rated well by other students!
- Introduce Book Clubs: This is a MAJOR fun time in our classroom, it is similar to book tasting! The students get extremely revved up for new book club choices.
- We typically start book club a month into the school year due to BOY Testing and other classroom management goals we focus on.
- I showcase all the books to the students and give them a book taste/ snippet of what the book entails. They love this because I get excited and make a big production about it! This is also a good time to showcase the end of book project they will complete for their final group project!
- Students are then allowed to select their top 3 choices and I group students accordingly. This is why the beginning of year testing is helpful because I can determine whether a child’s book is the “right fit” for students based on their reading level. I also take into consideration the group I place students with, I want to make sure students will be able to work independently and with group members for the goal of the book club project.
- Before we start our book clubs we all sign our contract on our BOOK CLUB GOALS and EXPECTATION anchor chart- this is important! Students also have their charts and anchor charts in their folder. You can find all this in our book club bundle.
Tips on how to organize and schedule book clubs
- I organize Book Club Folders for each student, or you can bind together and staple packets and and students keep in their reading folders.
- We keep an area near my reading center of book club materials [books, folders, sticky notes, laminated games, and more].
- Students also receive their weekly accountability sheets to record that they are reading books, and they have other accountability activities in their book club folders.
- You can read how I schedule book clubs for my students below.
- Schedule: I create a schedule for each book club book and I laminate it. This is so students know what they are responsible for reading. For example each book club session last typically 6 weeks. So I break up each book by chapters and weeks. See FREEBIE Below!
- Here is an example using Because of Winn Dixie– Week 1: students read Chapters 1-3 and complete assign pages in packet and meet with group. Week 2: students read Chapters 4-6 and complete assign pages in packet and meet with group. During week 3: students read Chapters 7-9 and complete assign pages in packet and meet with group. The following is week 4: students read Chapters 10-11 and complete assign pages in packet and meet with group. For week 5 the students will read the final Chapters complete book and complete assign pages in packet and meet with group. Lastly, Week 6: Work on final book club group project.
Book clubs Ideas and Activities
- Student Accountability/ Activities: The bundle has a packet of pages that have students complete in order to show they have been reading their book. It provides differentiated activities for groups, and individuals.
- Projects and Wrapping up Book Club Activities: This is some of the best stuff kids love about book clubs! I love seeing the final projects some include, click on any to see in action.
- cereal box projects,
- book review teach-go pennants & The book review lapbooks,
- Teach-Go brochures,
- digital projects, and more!
- This is something I give them extended time to work on, and students are graded on a rubric. You will love seeing the outcome and the reviews students have for their books!
Utilize book orders
Encourage your students to use Scholastic book orders. When students order, teachers get classroom points. Which are perfect for buying multiple copies of novels for students to use in book clubs. Talk to your librarian about agreements they may have with Scholastic or other organizations that provide materials or book fairs for the library. Often, they may receive extra materials to share with classroom teachers.
See the movie
Look no further than the Harry Potter series or Wonder to know that students are fascinated by books that have hit the big screen. Capitalize on this love of multiplex literature by having a celebratory movie day upon completion of the book. As an added bonus, have your students complete a compare and contrast chart or a venn diagram. They can discuss the similarities and differences between the book and the movie. Ask them what they thought of the casting. Whom would they have chosen to play specific roles?
Getting book clubs started in your classroom does not have to be an extra thing to add to your plate. Integrating book clubs into your reading curriculum will be amazing. Allowing for student choice and fun is just the ticket to having engaged readers in your class and beyond!
You can take a peek at the book club packet here.
Book club workshop and Freebies
During the year I release my free workshop and freebies to help you learn more about getting started with book clubs, if you are interested in getting notified visit here to sign up for future workshop information and also get free resources including book club freebies! Look for more information during spring and summer months!
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