Book Clubs with a Twist

One of my favourite ‘theme’ book club  is  the slow reading group in Wellington, New Zealand. There are book clubs and reading groups which do not really set any rules for its members, there are Facebook-based reading groups, and there are book clubs with special interests. What other ideas can reinvigorate your book club life? Adapt our tips according to the age and language level of the members of the book club you are running.

1 Think big

Book clubs can think big. Imagine that you read for a cause, an awareness day, or an important school event, and organise a special day or a party.

You can start a project together. Imagine that at the end of the school term you can create something together as a Book Club, with all the members sharing some new knowledge about your chosen topic. Read around the topic for the first term, meet four times at least and share what you have found out about your topic. Then dedicate the second term to organising an awareness day, creating an artwork, making a film or a science exhibition together. Maybe you would like to learn to cook something. Read about different recipes and create the perfect dish together.

You can also prepare a music playlist for your favourite books together and have musical book club meetings. Once in a while have an Arts and Crafts session and create beautiful gifts and book art.

2 Widen your horizons

We tend to read in our comfort zone. If you like detective fiction, it is more likely that after finishing a Conan Doyle story you’ll pick up something by Agatha Christie and not Jane Austen. Use our Reading Planner in your Book Club and make sure that you read as many genres as possible.

  • You can choose books based on your dream travel destinations. Call it a Travel Book Club.
  • Read non-fiction books. Science? Fashion? History? Cooking? Do have a non-fiction reading session once in a while.
  • Graphic novels are also fun book club materials. You can share all your stories about your heroes and heroines and watch film adaptations of their adventures.
  • Read Young Adult fiction! If you are running a book club for adults, you should definitely insert a YA novel into your reading list. Check out our 101 Young Adult Novels website for book recommendations and discussion worksheets.

3 Keep moving

It is important to have a comfortable meeting place for your book club sessions. However, some variety can spice up the meetings. Especially with high school students and young adults you can have a special session every month when you meet in a nice café, in a local library, bookshop, a community space, and even an art gallery if the managers let you occupy a room for an hour.

4 Involve the parents

If you are reading with young learners or teens, ask the parents to join in the weekly or monthly reading routine. The parents will be excited to revisit their old favourites and they will probably enjoy reading new titles. If they speak and read in English, they can read the original edition of the titles you read with the children, and if they’re learning English, they will also benefit from graded readers. If they do not read or speak in English, they can simply read the book in their own language.

5 Keep it simple

Of course, you can always keep it simple and enjoy reading together or simply discussing a book together. A simple but great twist is the silent and slow reading book in Wellington, and I think that providing at least 30 minutes of reading time to our students to concentrate on reading can be easily considered as a  luxurious, yet highly profitable, book club activity today. An ctivity they will benefit from more than anything else.

Do you have any other book club ideas? Share them with us to inspire other teachers and readers!

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