Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Club Bits

My neighborhood book club may keep our local winery in business, but we do a pretty good job on the reading front, too.  This fine group of ladies even inspired me to write start a Mother-Daughter Book Club book (too bad, though I started writing eons ago, someone beat me to the finished product).  I have several friends who started mother-daughter book clubs in real life, and I'm itching for the day my daughter is old enough for me (or, preferably, one of her friends' mom) to do the same. 

What about boys, though?  How come they always seem to be left out?  I was standing at the starting line of my daughter's school's 5K this weekend, having an awesome conversation with a neighbor's son about Rick Riordan and 13 Reasons Why, which was our (grown-up) selection this month, but which he read and discussed with great insight.

At any rate, this post is really about my husband, who teaches reading at a middle school.  Because of "specials" (band, etc.), the school has a one-period, no-credit class called CORE.  For next year, the prinicpal decided that CORE should involve a school-wide book club.  My husband is on the planning committe and was asking me for book recommendations with curricular tie-ins.  He was especially interested in multicultural books and books that dealt with issues of social justice (hello, Yankee Girl).   Because students rotate through the class, his school is thinking of buying kindles to increase interest and make it feel "cool" and different.  I'm putting this out there to the whole teaching community and piggybacking on Mary Ann's fabulous Summer Reading post.  What else would you do to make this experience a memorable one for the kids? 

Fostering group reading obviously brings a whole new dimension to a process that is typically thought of as a solitary experience.  As we look at social networking and sites like shelfari, interactive texts like the Amanda Project and yes, good old-fashioned book clubs... reading is more than what happens under the covers with a flashlight after bedtime.

The other night, I lay in bed beside my daughter, each of us reading a book -- hers, Marvin Redpost (thank you, Louis Sachar!) was the first book she ever decided she couldn't put down.  Deeply moved by the parallel experience, I said to her, "I love you so much.  Can you stay this age forever?"  She said, "No.  But I'll love you this much when I'm seventeen.  Maybe more."

Isn't writing for kids the best?


Carmela Martino said...

I hope your daughter stays true to her word, JM. :-) (Seventeen-year-olds can be so fickle.)

Gretchen Woelfle said...

JM: Hold her to that promise at seventeen. In fact, keep reminding her all along the way. When my daughter was ten, she promised that when she became a teenager she wouldn't act "stupid" like her brother. Well, she did. Luckily she and I both survived those teenage years.

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford said...

Thanks for the wise words of experience. There's a reason I put this one in writing. :)

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Jeanne Marie: take a look at Rob Buyea's BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT (Delacorte, '10). I so wished I was teaching fifth grade again so I could share this book as a read-aloud. It is beyond powerful as a story...and offers wonderful examples of voice for any writer. I bring it along to all school visits.

mary ann rodman said...

I second Esther. I just finished MR. TERUPT in the last month, and its one of those books that make me wish I were back in the classroom. Every voice is so different and real that you never have to flip back to see who the character is.

Sabrina said...

If you liked the 13 Reasons Why, then you might like If I Stay by Gayle Forman (I think Carmela recommended it to me!). There is a lot of discussion to be pulled from it.
I love the idea of mother-child bookclubs. I have been waiting and wagering when I might be able to start one with my kids.

Quinn said...

When my son was finishing first grade, I was looking for a way to keep him reading over the summer. Since our neighborhood had an influx of rising 2nd graders (boys and girls) I invited them to start a book club. It was a really neat experience.

We decided to meet once a week, since folks would be on vacation at different times no one would feel like they missed too much with missing a monthly meeting.

The first book I picked out and then when that finished we would mix up our selections with books they read and classic selections. The books could be read on the their own or as a read along. It was great. We posted questions online so parents could know what to ask. One book was a book filled with kids working on clues so we had coded messages delivered to each house. It would have been great to continue it into the school year but the conflicts abound with afterschool activities. It was really a great experiement.

Most book club things are guided to the older kids but having something parent guided and on their level I think really made it fun. I wish there was a way we could have done more. Because I noticed too that most book club things ignored these beginning readers.

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Sabrina! It was already on my to-read list, but I've moved it up a few notches.

Quinn, I love the idea of a book club for beginning readers, and especially one that includes boys. Thanks so much for sharing!