Not Your Mama's Book Club
Updated: Jul 26, 2022
I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. As a child, I started reading early and devoured books! I got my first library card in first grade during a school fieldtrip to the local library and I have been hooked since then. I would check out 5-10 books each time. I don't utilize the library for personal reading as much as I should. I tend to just buy my books for keeps now. My bookshelves are overflowing with books from ceiling to floor. The idea of visiting faraway places, castles, farms, outer space, and islands whenever I wanted drew me in. I truly think my love of traveling stems from my love of reading.
For me, reading was (and still is) a form of learning and relaxation. It allows me to temporarily remove any stress I may have by becoming a new character or visiting a new place. I love learning from books just as much as I love learning from other people, formally (in a class) or informally. Reading with others is a way to connect with them through shared reading experiences and discussions. We can talk about our feelings about a character or event, a memory or even future dreams.
Reading exposes you to various writing styles, topics, and even people. It can improve emotional and social development and well-being; and change your perspective on a controversial topic. As an educator, I also know that reading is a way to:
Learn new things
Expose students to the world
Apply critical thinking skills and other reading skills
Teach empathy and other life skills
I love teaching reading to children. When I was a classroom teacher, it was my favorite subject to teach...AND I am great at it! I have taught ELA to every grade level from PreK through high school. To develop a love of reading, I expose (my) children early to different genres, read to them often (even the older ones), and chose books that were interesting and relatable. In my home/homeschool we have a family book club which is really a monthly novel study. A novel study is essentially reading a novel together and discussing it. It is a way to create connections and bond over shared experiences, thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs, etc. Novel studies are a great way to build a love of reading by making it fun and exciting. The goal is to pick high quality literature and create engaging, thought-provoking activities to help students thinking critically, make personal connections, dive deeper into the story, and possibly change how they view themselves, others or the world (in a positive way).
I alternate between choosing the books and letting my sons choose the book. We have read books historical fiction, fantasy books, biographies and more. We read one book per month. If it's short or just a really good page-turner, we just plow through it.
Book clubs/Novel studies are a great way to give your ELA class a boost. To get started today:
1. Ask your children (your students or actual son(s)/daughter(s)) what they like to read; what stories they are interested in.
2. Create engaging activities and projects that target multiple learning styles.
Have your learner take create a photo slideshow of characters, illustrate an event from the story or create a diorama.