What are Book Clubs?

Book Clubs are small groups that meet regularly to talk about various types of texts.

Book clubs usually have facilitators, often teachers or librarians, and the members of a book club take on roles at each session. They use role cards, which make sure that the book club is student-driven and everyone joins in the discussion. These roles may change from session to session or rotate at given intervals.

Book clubs should have access to a wide range of reading materials. These materials can be graded readers, poems and carefully chosen newspapers and magazines. From time to time you can have a book club session when you do quizzes, watch a film, discuss magazine articles or do an art project. We will help you with this.

Why start a Book Club?

In all cultures, for as long as records exist, people have used stories and story-telling as a way of making sense of the world. Through reading we learn about other cultures and travel the world. Reading lets us play with the real and the imaginary and in fiction everything possible. Through stories we can explore extraordinary situations as well as solve puzzles. Narratives also let us deal with conflicts and discover diverse aspects of human nature. This way stories help us practise social and problem solving skills as well. Stories allow us to prepare for a host of possible real-life scenarios before they actually happen.

However, reading for pleasure is not the main objective of classroom English lessons as course book texts are designed to practise vocabulary, grammar tasks or prepare for language exams. Students sometimes read under pressure and rarely get the chance to choose the texts that really interest them.

A book club is the place where students can choose what they would like to read and they do not have to worry about finding the right answer to comprehension questions. Here students can read stories within their comfortable reading level and practise storytelling in speaking.

Book clubs that focus on extensive reading develop critical and creative thinking skills, enrich vocabulary, improve speaking skills and listening skills as well as building confidence. They also offer the possibility to start cross-curricular projects. Reading for pleasure is similar to a magic potion as it improves all language skills: grammar, vocabulary, speaking and writing production, accuracy and spelling. What’s more, if you and your students choose the right reader, the text will do the job miraculously: your students will be drawn into the text.

The formula has been tested and it has never failed.  The more your students read, the better readers they become. Research studies have shown that graded readers help students learn new vocabulary and strengthen their word recognition skills, and this leads to better language comprehension. However, the most important thing is that they can have fun reading and sharing.

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