Ep. 7: Bringing the Joy of Book Clubs to Your Classroom

Collaborative Teaching Episode 7 - Bringing the Joy of Book Clubs to Your Classroom.jpg

Every English teacher desires to make their students become life-long readers, students that will find joy and meaning in reading. Book clubs is one of the best ways to do that. This episode will explore why book clubs are important to any English class and how to get started with one right away. 

Book clubs tends to make them readers. And the sooner I can get them into that, the sooner I can help them develop that lifelong love of reading, which is my ultimate goal.

Why Book Clubs are needed

need more quantity

Students need a lot of opportunities to read. Whole class novels are not going to cut it. We really only have enough time in a school year to read 2-4 whole class novels, so we need two other things: independent reading program and book clubs.

Go here to hear more about independent reading program.

Why book clubs matter:

  1. Student’s are more invested in reading; they are held accountable to the other members of their group

  2. Discussing books with peers makes readers out of them. Just like watching a movie; it’s a lot more fun to discuss it with someone.

How to Organize Book Clubs

  1. Pick high interest books

    • Variety of genres or single genre, multiple books

    • Various lengths and difficulty levels

    • If a book doesn’t appeal, try it again next year or toss it. It’s not worth it to hold on to a book that doesn’t engage students.

  2. Speed dating books

    • Create stations in your classroom, with a book club choice at each group (approximately 10 choices)

    • Students rotate with a graphic organizer and rate their books:

      • 3 - Want to date this book exclusively

      • 2 - Would like to take it on a date and get to know it better

      • 1 - Might consider calling the book, but would probably just be friends

      • 0 - Would never call this book again

  3. Ballot Sheet

    • Students rank their top 3 or 4 choices on a voting sheet

    • Stress the importance of picking books that appeal to them, not to their friends since they will be stuck with it and may not even end up in a group with their friends

    • Students will get one of their choices, but are not guaranteed ther first choice

  4. Time to Read

    1. Meet group and set up reading calendar: students determine reading pace, but teacher determines the finish date for all

    2. Start reading

  5. Discussions

    • Once a week, students meet with groups to discuss the books. Have students keep a journal of thoughts and questions as they read, so that they are prepared to discuss during meeting dates.



  1. Nancy Atwell - In The Middle
    Everything you need to know about a reading and writing workshop in a middle school setting. The ideas are amazing, but not all will fit in the traditional public school - Atwell is lucky enough to run her own school.

  2. Penny Kittle - Book Love
    Need to figure out how to run an independent reading program. Kittle has amazing ideas to get you started.

  3. Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle - 180 Days
    The best of both worlds. Gallagher and Kittle show you how to put it all together in 180 days of teaching. And still you will have more ideas than you could possibly use in one school year. Also, includes their Thought Log handout for book clubs.


Independent Book Report - One option for final book club project. Click here.