Now that camp season is over, try a book club to keep your kid busy
By the end of July or the beginning of August, chances are you may find yourself fervently hoping for the new school year to begin. No matter the age of your child, you have likely run out of inventive activities to entertain her. Camp is no longer novel, and the first day of school is still some ways off. So what do you do?
A book club may be one solution! Though book stores and libraries often offer these events, it is deceptively simple to host your own book club from the comfort of your own home. A successful book club requires few items — your own time and a little bit of planning. Here is how to start a summer book club that your student will love:
Step 1: Choose your participants
While a book club that is exclusive to your family can be a meaningful and productive summer activity, a book club that consists of your child’s friends is an excellent (and educational!) way to remain in touch during this months-long vacation. Ideally, your book club should consist of students at fairly similar reading levels, but this is not always practical. If this is true for your child, invite students in her grade or in the grades immediately above and below her. (It may be difficult for a fifth grade student to read the same novel or poem as a child in 10th grade but not the same selection as a fourth or sixth grade student.) Then, contact their parents and continue on to Step 2.
Step 2: Discuss logistics
Once you and your child settle on 10 or fewer potential participants for your book club, you can begin a conversation with their parents about logistics. For instance, where will you meet? At your home or outside in a convenient park? Will you rotate between participants’ homes? How often will you meet and for how long? (Note that the length of your book discussions will vary based on the ages of the participants.) How many books will you read, and how will you choose them? Will parents guide the selection and discussion processes or will they simply provide supervision? You may also wish to create a schedule for snacks if you and the other parents decide to take turns providing beverages and/or small meals.
Step 3: Vary your programming
Book clubs for adults often revolve around conversation — conversation about the text at hand and general conversation about life. Your student and her friends may do these things too (likely to a lesser extent), but varying your book club programming can deepen comprehension, engagement and motivation. For example, book club participants may enjoy ending each session with a related craft. This might include creating a bookmark from card stock and ribbon or working together to write and illustrate a picture book version of the selected text (perhaps for a younger sibling). If your child is interested in designing a bookmark, consider creating a theme around one aspect of the book, such as character or plot. Such crafts can also reinforce key academic skills like creativity and teamwork.
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