Friday, July 10, 2009

Kid's Summer Book Group

As a book lover and former English teacher, I am so excited to tell you about this. I don't know about you, but my kids need some motivation to keep reading during the summer. The swimming pool and Nerf guns and the Wii beckon them much stronger than all the great books that we picked up from the library. 

My friends and I formed a type of "play" group meeting each week that centers around books. It is a group of five boys who were already friends and are entering 4th grade. They like it because they get a good snack brought by the mom who is hosting and they get to play together once the book discussion is finished.

Knowing that they will talk about the book with their friends motivates them to get the reading done. Here's how we did it-

1) We chose the books we wanted to read. We looked at books that the 4th grade teachers suggested for summer reading and then chose one book per week, unless it was lengthy and then we broke it into two weeks.

2) We chose where and when we would meet and which mom would be hosting. The mom hosting is in charge of the snack for the kids and gets to choose where we meet. We met at the park last week and sat on blankets in the shade of a tree. 

3) We kept the number of kids low because if there is more, it can be difficult to manage.

4) We assigned different jobs to the kids which will be rotated each week. 
The jobs are- 

*Discussion Director- Discusses what the book is about, including theme, main character and setting.

*Passage Picker- Chooses a favorite passage to read aloud to the group.
*Character Captor- Tells a little bit about each of the characters.

*Artful Artist- Draws or creates something that they want to share with the group about the book.

*Connecting Captain- Thinks of a connection that can be made between the book and the world, including real life or other stories.

5) We finish by having the kids rate the book on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best. They have to explain why they rated it that way.

Mister Luke rated our first book a 9 and a half and I have to agree with him.

It was this book

I highly recommend this book. It is the most adorable story of this dog who dreams of sheep and finding his purpose in life. He is on a journey and encounters very interesting characters who change his name and sometimes he feels very lost. But he does not give up on the pursuit of his dream.

It is a great book for ages 7 and up. This book group would work for 2nd through 4th grade. For 5th and 6th, you might want to change the job title names so they don't think you are silly.

Do you have any good book recommendations?


Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

Oh I have been looking for a book similar to this. My husband is really looking for "his purpose" in life, and sometimes as a family it's really fun to read books with sweet, large messages, that we can really open a real life conversation up with our children about.

I don't know if that made any sense, but I'm definitely going to check out this book! Thanks for the recommendation!

Blessings for a fun weekend,

Liz said...

What a neato idea! Since my kids are small, we just focus on a letter at a time...but you can BET I will be using this great idea as my kids grow and start learning. So neat!

Lee Beth said...

Aw that book does sound really cute. I just had to say. I thought this was really interesting. I think its great you're getting kids involved in summer reading. All this technology nowadays is kinda crazy sometimes. When we were younger, we loved reading, I don't know whats happened. So yeah, I think that's really cool.

Annmarie said...

What a great idea! Gina told me to check out your blog and I enjoy reading it- you have a wonerful writing style and it is funny to read. I like the book club idea for when my boys get bigger- I guess its the teacher in me.

Jen said...

what a fabulous idea for a play group. I think that I might have to try it with my friends.

stopped over from SITS to say hello and welcome you.

Anonymous said...

I recommend all the books I have written! Unfortunately they aren't published yet and are schlepping around the world to different publishers being rejected and sometimes considered but no cigar yet. Soon.

Thats a cute idea you have! My kids always read alot, but you right the video games especially a big draw. The reason is because of something that can only be controlled by limiting time on the video games...huge dopamine release while playing video games versus tiny dopamine release while reading books!!! Seems insidious doesnt it!!!!

Gina said...

You are the cleverest sister I know!!!! What a great idea! Is "cleverest" a word?

Shaye said...

This is a great idea! Glad it's working so well. It's funny that many of us moms have book clubs where we meet and discuss books, but so few kids have that. I'd love to do something like this here in my town. And as an ex-teacher and children's librarian it would be right up my ally. Thanks for the idea!