Starting a Family Book Club
If you’re looking for a fun and educational way to bridge the summer learning gap, or even inspire reading this fall consider starting a family book club. This unique tradition is one that any family member can participate in, and which offers benefits for everyone. Not only will it get the entire family reading, but it also helps to encourage lifelong readers, supports reading fluency/comprehension, and creates opportunities for interesting discussions as a family. Plus, everyone can learn something new!
Create the Tradition
Now that you know some of the exciting book club benefits, how do you create one that works for your family? Begin by sitting down together to discuss your preferred format. Each family member has different interests so a fun option is to rotate who gets to choose the book each time. Of course, you can also decide on a book all together or take a vote and go with the majority. You’ll also want to decide whether to read your chosen book in parts, or all at once, and whether to set time limits for finishing it. It’s also fun to plan a special activity to discuss the book as a family once everyone is done reading.
Pick a Book
Since you’ll likely have family members at different reading levels, pick books that fit your family’s needs. Classic children’s books such as Charlotte’s Web or The Chronicles of Narnia are great choices for a family book club and an integral part of any language arts homeschool curriculum, as they can be simple enough for young readers to understand, and are also generally well-loved by family of all ages. Even mom and dad will enjoy going back to these classics they probably read while growing up!
Alternatively, you can draw on lists of the best children’s books by age and grade, or look to school or library reading lists for inspiration, making sure to choose one that all members of the book club will be able to follow. Depending on the various reading levels and interests, your selection might also determine whether you choose to read the book together or independently. Another option that works well for nonfiction could be to choose different books on the same topic, such as “cats” or “outer space.” That way, everyone can choose a book at their reading level while still following a shared theme that lends itself well to a group discussion. This is a great way to enrich your homeschool language arts and inspire your students to read.
Although having everyone read the chosen book independently is one way to format your book club, you might also consider other options depending on everyone’s reading levels and what works best for your family. You could choose to read the book out loud together on special days set aside for your book club, or you can have older siblings help beginner readers. You could also read along with younger readers, sounding out the sight words together. Audiobooks are another great option for families with different age ranges, or for reluctant readers or those short on time. Audiobooks are also a great alternative to screen time and make a nice addition to a work commute or on the way to a kid’s activity.
Once everyone is done reading, set aside a time to discuss the book. This could be as simple as a discussion over dinner, or you could make a special day of it. Maybe you pack a picnic and head to the local park. Or, you plan a backyard evening and sit around the fire pit. You can choose to have a free form discussion or come prepared with discussion questions to get the ball rolling and the conversation flowing. Whatever you decide, it’s an opportunity for everyone to give their honest opinion about what they liked, what they didn’t like, or what they didn’t understand about the book. The best thing about this discussion time is that it offers a platform to learn from one another and to understand different viewpoints on the same topic. It’s also a natural way to help kids grow in their reading comprehension skills.
These are just a few ideas on how to start a family book club, but every family structure and dynamic is different. Sit down with your loved ones and get everyone’s opinion on how to start this new tradition – it’s a great way to bring the family together, enrich your homeschool curriculum, and bond in a fun and educational way!
Kristy Pepping is a Content Supervisor at Upparent.com, an online community where parents share their favorite indoor & outdoor activities for kids, children’s books, kid-friendly recipes, toy & gift ideas and more. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and three kids.