Middle Grade Book Clubs by Deborah Lytton
In my newest release, RUBY STARR (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), the main character, Ruby loves reading so much that she starts her own book club at school. Book clubs can be a wonderful way to promote reading and positive social interactions. Ruby's book club was inspired in part by my daughter's fifth grade teacher who engaged her students in reading with in-class book clubs. She encouraged independent reading by allowing the students to choose from books she had pre-selected. There were adventure stories, classics, historical fiction, fantasies, and realistic fiction available. On the day of the book club, the fifth graders would separate into groups and participate in open discussion of themes in the reading by using a list of questions to get the conversations started. To make the atmosphere even more exciting, she would bring in snacks so that the students could eat strawberries and cookies while they talked about their books. I was privileged enough to work in the classroom that year, and I had the opportunity to sit with some of the groups. I was so impressed with the students' insights and opinions, and I found myself looking at the books differently because of the book clubs. Recently, I have noticed an increase in Middle Grade book clubs being offered at libraries. For students that love to read, those who struggle with reading or readers in between, participating in a book club can make a positive impression that just might last a lifetime.