Spark Student Motivation: Book Clubs

I'm teaming up with Joanne for her fabulous linky:

So many great ideas I have found through this linky! Here's some of my tricks to make reading a bit more engaging and fun- Book Clubs!

I'm going to be honest- I haven't done a lot of book clubs. I did more during my student teaching placement, because the school that I was at had a lot of multi-set books and that is what my coteacher used often for her groups. However, since being on my own in the classroom, I find it hard to find the books, put kids in groups, how to support them, etc. However, we have new units of study this year in RW and with our re-adoption of the curriculum, we got more resources to help us actually teach the units (not always the case in the past). Our first book club is all about mysteries. This is the perfect way to start for me- mysteries are engaging, fun to talk about, and have similar plot structures. We got 16 different mysteries, with most having 6 copies of each book- plenty to actually give this a try!

Up until this point, I've done guided reading or strategy groups. Students always loved when they got to meet with their group and talk. It'll be a little different this time though, as they will be taking on more of the responsibility. We've done talking about how to work in a group, but my goal is that they eventually will run most of their group time (maybe not with their first mystery, but by the end of the year). 

To help them be successful in this first book club, we had to establish some norms. Yes, I called them norms. I even described how adults use norms when they are apart of groups or at meetings. I shared that I LOVE to talk to my teammates and we meet to plan a lot. We created norms to help us finish at a decent time (we are notorious for staying at school late, because we just like to talk to each other- it's a catch 22). I told them that I sometimes need reminders from my teammates to get back on topic, because I love to talk! I think they secretly like to see that I break rules sometimes too- oops! I'm human- teaching by example right?! ;)

So we brainstormed some goals that we hope to achieve through doing book clubs as well as expectations to help us reach these goals as a whole class first.

Don't mind my chicken scratch- I hate writing on the SMARTboard. I usually do it just as a scribe to show them all their thinking.
Then, students met with their group and chose the goals and expectations that were important to them as a group. I could see right away which groups were going to be very successful with these book clubs and which ones are going to struggle to due to strong personalities or very quite souls. Kind of a great formative assessment when I piece together how I'm going to have to prepare for each group and their discussion.

They completed their Norms sheet. I'm going to make a copy for each group to keep and bring to each meeting. I also want a copy so that I can remember and take notes on the back about behaviors I'm seeing in group.

After they finished this, most groups got a choice between books. One group didn't, because I only had 1 book at their level, but they seemed satisfied. Again, it was interesting and formative to see how they worked together to choose which one they wanted to read. 
The books they chose- I'm missing 1 book because we only got 3 copies, but it is a Nate the Great so that won't take long to read Tuesday morning :). 
Now- I have some reading to do to prepare! Have you done book clubs? How do you prepare for them? How do you help kids prepare for them? I'd love to hear your ideas!



  1. I love book clubs! And, once you've read some of the books in your library it gets easier, because at least you'll have some titles under your belt. I try to only add one new title to a the group each time, so I don't overwhelm myself. :) Great idea to set norms-setting everyone up for success! I think book choice and having ownership of their reading is very motivating to kids! Thanks for sharing and linking up Kelli! I can't wait to hear how it goes!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

    1. Thanks for your tips Joanne. I'm hoping once I get a few titles with different reading levels under my belt, it'll get a little easier. I'm almost done with reading all of these and taking notes on vocab and some questions for each chapter to help stuck groups. If you have any other ideas on how to make book clubs successful, I'm all ears! Thanks for hosting the linky- I love being able to connect with other bloggers and get ideas


  2. I've never actually done a book club, but it's on my to-do list for next year, or perhaps at the end of this year. I love that the students have options of books on their level, because you're right, ownership comes along with that. Setting norms was smart thinking, too. Loved reading this! :)

    The 4th Grade Journey

    1. Thanks Mandy for your kind comment! I'm a little nervous- mainly just to figure out the logistics, but I'm just going to jump in and I'm sure I'll learn from my mistakes. ;) I'm off to check out your blog!

  3. I love book clubs! I do them in my classroom all the time. I adore the "norm" sheet as you called it... we talked over and over again about expectations and etiquette for book clubs in fifth grade. That handout is perfect and great for taking notes on each of the groups. Brilliant! I'm going to have to add that to my book club folder for our historical fiction clubs :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Glad I found your blog!
    My Shoe String Life

    1. Hi Amanda! Thanks for your encouraging words! Any tips on how to make them run smoothly??? Thanks for commenting- I love finding new blogs :)

  4. Book clubs are so much fun! I love how you are determined to put your students in charge of their learning. Good luck!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

    1. Jennifer, I am determined, but also a wee bit nervous on how this is all going to work out!! I'll take any pointers ;). Thanks for your sweet comment! I'm off to take a peek at your blog now!


Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top