Monday, 17 August 2015

Thinking about Book Clubs Part II

Remember those infographics I created for my book clubs? I blogged about them here. At least one of you asked for a follow up post on how they were received. Here it is! This one's for you Adrienne.

This could, in reality, be a super short post because the individual cards were received extremely favourably and have been described as changing the way a particular book club runs. However, we all know that short, sharp and shiny is not really how I roll.

The first group I used the cards with I was in a bit of hurry and assumed - because they're cluey kids - that they would take the time to read the cards and just know how to use them. Yeah well. We can all guess how well that went can't we? The kiddos returned some time later with miserable looks on their faces because they'd had an argument over how much they needed to read during the book club time. Cue deathly silence.

"You weren't reading during your meeting though were you?"
"Yes. We'd made a couple of predictions and couldn't think of anything else to talk about so we just got on with reading."

I'm surprised I didn't inhale the child standing closest to me as I took a very slow and deep breath. 

"Let's go over the book club process again."

We revisited the process and the purpose of book clubs before reviewing the cards. It was delightful to see the little bulbs of recognition and understanding lighting up as we talked. Less delightful was the growing realisation that I'd left this group to independent meetings way too early. I was left hoping that the damage the premature independence had caused wasn't permanent.  

The following week I offered to join the club - as an observer - but was turned down. They'd talked about my likely offer and had decided to give it another go on their own first. Watching them walk out of the room actually made my stomach churn. 

It shouldn't have.  I went out to check close to the end of the lesson and they were still deeply engrossed in their discussions. They were flipping through their novels and talking about the strategies they were using. I saw all of them refer to the card to help find the words to describe their thinking. And they didn't even notice me loitering in the doorway watching. 


We had our 3-way interviews very soon afterwards and one of these kids described book club as one of his highlights of the year, with the last meeting being an extraordinary experience.  Not bad hey?

The other ongoing book club is a little further along in their development. They've all done it before and know the drill. BUT... They've enjoyed the reminder the cards have offered them. I recorded their meeting last week (for a school wide literacy QR trail that I'm building for book week) and was overjoyed to hear them describe the pleasure, learning and challenge they get from book club.  Listening to them bounce ideas off each other and make connections to other books they've read reminded me of my own book club (with the notable absence of coffee and wine). 
Reading is such an important part of my life, and my book club offers me a different - richer - way to experience reading. I'm pleased that my infographic cards are helping my students along their journey to this experience.

Are you part of a book club? I'd love to hear your reading stories.

Sidenote: if you're in Adelaide I highly recommend the shop that hosts our book club. You can check it out here or on this short video. 

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...
Standard 2 Know the content and how to teach it
Standard 3 Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
Standard 4 Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments

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