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Afterschool Book Clubs

Looking for a way to build literacy in afterschool programs and encourage a love of reading? Consider creating an afterschool book club program following our Book Club Guide. Students can choose their own books and then talk about the books in groups according to different roles they choose the play.

Our efforts to support literacy-building activities in afterschool programs got a huge boost in the summer of 2012 when we received approximately 18,000 children’s books from the Southeast Vermont Learning Collaborative. The free book bundles, available with multiple copies of the same titles, were distributed across the state to afterschool and summer programs for our Book Give-Away Initiative as a way to promote summer reading initiatives and book clubs.

Over 50 statewide youth afterschool and summer programs requested books from our 2012 Book Give-Away Program. From 50 to 500 books, programs across the state were eager to receive the free books and almost all books were allocated in less than two weeks after we announced the Book Give-Away Program in June 2012.

Download a PDF of the Book Club Guide here if you are interested in learning how to run your own afterschool book club or literature circle.

Tips to Create Enthusiasm for Reading

Here are some basic tips for creating successful book clubs.

1. Give kids choices about the book they are going to read for a book club. Offer them three to four book choices and let them see the books so they can check out the covers, illustrations, etc.

2.  Set up the book club like you would an adult book club—make it special by meeting in a comfortable area, use lamp light instead of overhead harsh lighting, give kids small writing journals with colorful pens, let them spread out and read, and perhaps include a special snack. Be sure to give kids plenty of time to read and discuss the book.

3. Have book bins throughout the school and program center for an ongoing book swap so kids can trade in their books anytime any day of the school year.

4. Start reading kids books yourself (see the book lists below for great recommendations) so that you can suggest books to kids. Kids need to see adults reading and getting excited when talking about their books!

Book Lists

Need some ideas for great books to read with your students? Check out some of these book lists for Literature Circles, books clubs, summer reading lists, etc.

Grades K-4: Red Clover Book List

Grades 4-8: Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book List

Grades 9-12: Green Mountain Book List

General Resources for Building Literacy

The International Reading Association
The world’s leading organization of literacy professionals.

The Vermont Council on Reading
An organization that promotes effective reading and literacy programs at all levels. The Vermont Council on Reading also holds conferences and awards small grants to members who are looking to enhance literacy instruction within schools.

Planet Book Club
This website explains the methodology of book clubs, as well as offering descriptions and samples of book club materials. Planet Book Club also has interactive components for both students and teachers in addition to curriculum resources.

Vermont Department of Libraries
List of Vermont authors and illustrators

First Book
Low-cost books for distribution and programming

Vermont Center for the Book
Mother Goose Programs promoting books, reading, literacy and libraries locally, regionally and nationally.

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