With the proliferation of book clubs for adults, it's no wonder that children are wondering: where are the book clubs for kids? But with homework, sports, and much more competing for your child's time (and yours), the idea of setting aside a couple of hours every month or two to discuss books can be daunting. Consider, though, that book clubs for kids can help you:
- get closer to your child
- share different aspects of his life
- expand your conversations beyond "How was school today?"
- provide insight into your child, her peers, and how they think
To get started, follow these tips:
- Compose the group: Invite kids in your child's grade or close to him in age. Look for members with similar interests and abilities — but not too similar, to keep the discussions interesting! Aim for a group of around eight to twelve members (including adults and children).
- Appoint an organizer to keep the schedule, send out reminders, and be available to answer questions. A parent can act as the organizer, but older kids will be able (and eager) to handle this responsibility themselves.
- Set a schedule: Meeting monthly or even bimonthly gives everyone time to read the selection without too much time pressure.
- Find a place: As a group, decide if you would rather organize book clubs for kids that meet at participants' homes or at a public spot, such as a bookstore, library, or coffee shop.
- Select the books: Have the host of the first meeting choose the first book, then let the kids decide on the rest.
- Prompt discussion: Encourage each child to come prepared with at least one topic for discussion or question to ask the group.
- Focus on the kids: You and your fellow parent members are there to facilitate discussion, but mostly to listen. Let your child take the lead — you'll be amazed at what you'll learn.
- Plan an activity to complement the book. You might plant seeds after reading a book about nature or try your hand at poetry after reading Robert Frost.
- Set up a snack: Agree in advance: Will the host provide all the edibles, or will the responsibility be shared? Are there any foods that are off-limits due to allergies or other sensitivities?
- Stay flexible: Your clubs will naturally evolve as your kids grow and change. You may meet more or less frequently or choose different books to explore. What matters most: Keep the pages turning and the conversation flowing!