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Book Clubs!

{Book Clubs in a nutshell: A basket of books that go together in some way combined with kids reading, writing, and talking about their texts. Fits inside the reading workshop after mini lesson/independent reading and in lieu of partner reading. Lasts anywhere from 1-3 weeks.} -Adapted from Collins, Reading For Real. 

I decided that I would take the whole class on a journey though a chapter book in a series. I, of course have kids reading in chapter books anyway- but I have not had the chance to teach them how to navigate through one.The nice thing is that even my lowest readers can participate in this cycle because they are reading the likes of Henry and Mudge, Frog and Toad, Mr. Putter and Tabby, and Young Cam Jansen series books.

Series books. SO MUCH to consider! Using Kathy Collin’s book, Growing Readers, I came up with a road map for this unit. I spent two weeks before this cycle beefing up and refreshing my students on how to work with partners, how to hold a conversation that goes back and forth, and how to share about books. We’ve covered all of that, but as workshops do- it got routine and stale. That usually means behavior problems- ammirite??

you know, #readingpartnerdrama

I also took those two weeks before I launched this to do sample readings from all of the series that I had selected. That would allow the students to be exposed to them before we just let them loose with it. This was also a great time to gather materials for club: baskets for the series books, sticky notes, work folders, etc… I selected the following series for this round of book clubs: (6-8 titles each)

Junie B. Jones

Henry and Mudge
Young Cam Jansen
Frog and Toad
Nate the Great
Magic Tree House
Jigsaw Jones

Day One: Meeting your book club and signing contracts.

Mini-Lesson Scripting:  
Connection: Readers, we’ve been working on making sure our partnerships are strong so that we have really amazing conversations and connections when we move into book clubs! 
Teaching Point: Today, you will be meeting with your book club for the first time. [I chose to put my students in certain books clubs based on reading level and comprehension skills. Other book club cycles might allow them to pick their own club.] Workshop will look the same as far as my mini-lesson and your independent reading. What will change is instead of going to your partner to read and think together, you’ll meet with your club. I’ll show you TONS of ways to track your understanding while reading your chapter books over the next few days. Today, you will be simply going to your book club basket and browsing through your series. You will also talk about the things that you think might make your club run smoothly. You’ll agree on some norms and you’ll sign your club contracts. 
Active Engagement: Turn to your neighbor and discuss your hopes and thoughts about book club. What do you hope to get out of it? How are you planning to grow as a reader? 
Link: I’m so exited about these clubs. As I listened in I heard students setting goals for their reading and thinking work- and I heard something really cool: “I hope to have fun with books!” That was my favorite one because we must always remember to fall in love with our books. You’ll go off to read alone with your just right books. When the timer goes off, you will find your new book club and follow the directions on your club contract sheet. You may also get your snack to enjoy at that time, but not before. Off you go! 
I think assigning the clubs was helpful. Less drama. The transition was really smooth. They were really excited to start and their contracts were filled with good ideas. I worry about my two lower reading groups- which are of course, my behavior issues groups. I generally give almost ALL of my time to them so behavior isn’t a problem- but I so badly want to meet with my higher readers more during this unit. I need to figure out how that will work. There is so much thinking work that I want to do with my high decoder-low comprehension kiddos. I am also concerned with my speed-readers. I can hear them already claiming to be done but not taking the time to track characters and new words and phrases. Lots to consider- but I feel like we’re off to a great start! 


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