Book Club - BOCES Exploratorium
Different Types of Book Clubs
- Just for Boys Or Just for Girls
- Genre Specific Book Club
- Parent-Child Book Club
- Online Only Book Club
- Books Before School
- Lunch Bunch
- Book Club
- One Book, One School/Grade
Good to Keep in Mind When Planning a Book Club
- Make sure there is enough “meat” — If the bad guys are super bad and the good guys are super good, it doesn’t leave much to discuss. Lots of “shades of gray” make for a better discussion. Mysteries and thrillers are often difficult to discuss.
- Don’t get stuck in a rut—Change up the genre, length, go from serious to funny to controversial. Keep it interesting!
- Set “Ground Rules” Right at the Beginning—For some clubs, it’s OK if everyone doesn’t finish the book, for others—the format just won’t work if everyone doesn’t participate. Figure out what you’re looking for and make sure everyone knows the “rules.”
- Avoid books in a series—If you need to read the first book in the series to understand your selection, that’s not great.
- Avoid long non-fiction titles—You’ll all be smarter when you’re done—but there’s too much detail to get through before you can talk about it.
- Don’t choose all the books for the whole year—Pick the books for the next few discussions, then see how they go. You may find something works or doesn’t work for your group and you don’t want to be “locked in” on the book selections.
- Avoid books that have a movie—Some members may “cheat” and just watch the film but it may not “stick with the book.”
How To Lead A Discussion Group
There are lots of ways to lead a Discussion Group
Here are just a few:
Leader Asks the Group a Question—This is the more traditional way to run a group. The leader prepares the questions before the meeting and reads each one to the group.
Pros—The Leader makes sure that the questions or topics he/she wants to discuss are mentioned. If there is a “big reveal” at the end of the story, the leader controls the order of the topics.
Cons—Some people may dominate the conversations and more shy members may not feel comfortable contributing to the conversations.
“Pas the Basket” - Leader prepares questions before the meeting, cuts them out onto strips of paper, then puts them in a basket. At the meeting, members take a question out of the basket and reads it out loud to the group for everyone to discuss, then passes the basket to the next member.
Pros—It ensures that everyone in the group gets a chance to speak and participate.
Cons—The questions will be in a random order, so if chronology is important, this isn’t the best method.
Using Specific Passages—The Leader can select specific passages from the book (character description, dialogue, an idea, a crucial scene) and ask questions regarding
Pros—The Leader makes sure that the questions or topics he/she wants to discuss are mentioned.
Cons—There may be passages or scenes that the group wants to discuss and are limited to just the ones that were pre-selected.
Play a Game—Playing an ice-breaker game. Guaranteed Fun!
Give a character a Make-over—in Groups or alone, give a character a make-over. What job would they get when they grow up (or if they were living in modern times)? Where would they live? Invent a new life for them!
Go to the Movies - In groups or alone, cast the film version of the book. Who would star in it? Who would direct? Would it be animated? Set in modern times?
After Your Group Has Read Several Books Together:
Grab Bag— Put items in a bag or pillow case that represent items from several of the books you’ve read (example—a magnifying glass for Harriet the Spy, an arrow for Hunger
Games, etc.). Pass the bag around and members have to pull something out of the bag and guess what book or character it is from.
Snowballs— Divide the group into 2 teams. Each team has to write a trivia questions (1 per page) about the books. When time is up—they crumple the papers into “snowballs” and toss them to the other team. The teams then have to answer the questions on the snowballs for points (2 points for the correct answer, 1 point to the team who wrote the question for each wrong answer).
Whose Line is it Anyway? - Leader reads dialogue from a book and members have to guess what character said each line. This can be done in teams and you can keep score, or it can be played as individuals.