I don't know if you have ever set up or been part of an adult book club - but in my experience it is much the same, although you swap wine with lollies.
Finding kids for such things isn't usually difficult - Offer to run a book club at your child's school or local library or community house. The children in the group become friends quite quickly, and there is a benefit in finding readers from a range of schools nearby as they rarely know each other before joining the book club, and they are now making new friends outside of their school circles. (Check with your local laws when it comes to Working With Children's checks).
Rules can help let children know where they stand, although it is important to make it as 'unschooled like' as possible. I start with:
Book Club should meet once a month to discuss a single book they have all read in advance of the meetings. It is important to let readers choose their own book. Although, to make sure it is appropriate I would get them to run it by you first. Also try to nudge them outside of their comfort zone to read as widely as possible.
You (the adult) could run the session, asking leading questions and facilitating discussion. Or you could have a series of prompt questions and choose a different reader each week to run the session. You are then there as backup - but readers will feel greater ownership if they are able to run the book club as much as possible.
Try to let the readers know the questions that may be discussed before they arrive, so they are prepared. Also remember these questions are just prompts - they may lead you down a very different path - and that's fine! It's all part of the Book Club experience.
In the end Book Club is about providing a scheduled time and place for readers to come together and discuss books. Children may need to be reminded of the purpose every now and then, so guidelines are important - but once a good Book Club gets established readers know the routine and discuss and snack happily.
Let us know your experience with Book Clubs - What has worked, what hasn't. Tell us in the comments section.
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