"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

20 February 2015

Page Turners Book Club

Not only do I run a book club for younger kids (ages 5-8), but I also have a book club for our tweens (ages 9-12). For the most part, I run this club the same way I do the other club: kids and their parents can sign up at the beginning of the month, and they receive a free copy of the book, which they should then finish reading before they come to book club at the end of the month.  I start our meetings with a discussion of the book, followed by a variety of activities the kids can choose to do.  We always end with the opportunity to sign up for the next month as well as browsing through a cart of read-alike suggestions.

There were two things that make working with this group very different from working with the younger kids.  First, our discussion lasted a lot longer, both because the book was longer and invited more discussion and also because the kids seemed to want to contribute more to the discussion than their younger cohorts did.  Second, the younger kids flitted about trying all the various activities I had set out for them, whereas the older kids, for the most part, chose the one same activity and stuck with it for the remainder of the time.

Book Discussed: Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Book Questions: I found them here.  I also added a few standards of my own, but I don't like to reinvent the wheel.
Activities: I created four options:
  1. Decorate your own superhero mask:  This was by far the most popular activity.
  2. Superhero photo booth:  This was the favorite activity of the parents; they all wanted pictures of their kids wearing their superhero gear.
  3. Draw your own comic strip.  I found a template online and set out markers and colored pencils.
  4. Magnetic Poetry a la Ulysses: I have two kid-friendly sets of magnetic poetry.  The kids fiddled with this a bit, but they were more excited about making superhero masks than anything else.

I also had out healthy snacks for kids to munch on, since our book club meets at 6:00 PM and that's pretty close to dinner time.  Additionally, I made sure to make enough masks and comic strips so that siblings could also join in the activities.  Most of the parents stayed in the room for the entire meeting, but a few went into the other areas of the library after I offered to bring their kids to them when we were finished. 

I definitely enjoyed working with the younger kids, but I think the book club as a whole was more successful with the older group, mainly because they were able to think and talk about the book they had read, and the book was long enough to have a legitimate discussion about it. 

Do you have a book club for tweens at your library? What kinds of things do you do at your meetings?

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