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10 ideas for the first Book Club session

July 24, 2018 by cymaster

When you have set up the first Book Club meeting, it is very likely that you will have one of the following scenarios:

  • You already have a selection of readers.
  • You do not have any readers and you will probably have to wait for your order to arrive after the first session.

Whether you find yourself in either scenario, the first session should focus on getting to know each other, setting up rules, learning about what books are available and what your students are interested in.

Helbling Readers catalogue cover illustration by Gabriella Giandelli. © Helbling Languages

1 Fill out the member cards and the Book Club Schedule.
You can download sample forms and cards here. Of course the members of the Book Club can update their profiles, add new books and interests to it at later stages. If you like, you can create a group on a social media platform for the book club. This way you can get in touch with your students more easily and they can share news about the Book Club.

2 Do quizzes.
Do the reading habits quiz and the reading personality quiz. You can download them here. You can find the answers to the reading personality quiz here.

3 Read book samples.
It is an entertaining way for your students to become familiar with different genres and understand what kind of books they might be interested in.

4 Use the blurbs, the covers and the illustrations.
If you already have a selection of books, you can use the blurbs on the covers and the illustrations in the books. Just spread as many readers as you can on a table and ask students the browse and pick anything they might be interested in. Then they can tell the group why they are interested in that particular book and they can guess what the story is about.

5 Decide if you are going to establish any rules for the meetings.
What happens when somebody does not read the text for the meeting? Will you have various roles for each session? Read about book club roles here and download our role cards here.

6 Talk about reading experiences.
It might sound boring and repetitive, but you can ask the group to talk about their favourite reading experiences. Tell them that they do not need to talk about classics or novels they have read for school. It can be a magazine, an article, song lyrics, film review, poem they like.

7 Read cartoons and graphic novels. 
Describe the images and make up texts for the speech bubbles together. You can use samples from graphic stories, which you can find here.

8 Take a selection of magazines to the meeting.
Let your students browse them and choose one they like. You could also ask them to bring their favourite articles, news items, interviews. If this is something your group likes, they could start building their own reading packet of texts they really like.

9 Talk about expectations.
Explain to your students that the expectations in the Book Club are not the same as in the classroom. Here they can read as much or as little as they like.

10 It is a different kind of reading.
Tell them that here they can use dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and they will never have to write tests or exams. You cannot fail in a book club.

Finally, order the books or order more books. When you have chosen the first books your book club will read, you can order books. Ideally you could order a selection of readers for all levels and topics to set up a graded reader library. However, if you have a small budget, and you know the level of your students, you can concentrate on that level to start with.

Don't forget to schedule the next meeting!

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