The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 2 - Page 59

Students Who Do Not Want to Join a Book Club

If students choose not to join a book club, that is entirely fine as well. The students have three options each month: they can do a traditional reading log, they can do a book club or they can do an individual book club with me. Some students are not interested in reading the Mark Twain books and that is okay. These students choose their book, choose which day they meet with me, and how many pages they will read before we meet again. They must finish the book they choose in one month. This is not hard to manage because the students are responsible for coming to me and discussing their books about once a week. Sometimes they will walk with me on the playground to discuss their books.

The kids want to join a book club because then they do not have to do a reading log for parents to sign. Our reading logs have two summaries on the back, so they have to do extra work when they do the reading logs. Book clubs are fun as well. The students love that they get to have a book club with each of the fourth-grade teachers. This helps us all build a relationship with every student and helps them build relationships with each other. Miller (2002) states, “Teaching children how to listen and respond to each other in respectful, thoughtful ways also helps foster new relationships and caring communities” (p. 18).

Getting the Books

We encourage the parents to check out books from the library, but if they want to purchase them, they can. We encourage the students to swap books with other students so they are not purchasing all the books. I have a spot in my room where they can donate the book they have read for a book swap.

We also wrote a grant during our second year to get books for our summer book club and received $500 to buy books. This was like winning the lottery! We were able to get five to six copies of all 12 books. Our librarian, who is very supportive of our efforts, also has copies in the library for the children to check out. I have a daughter who loves to read so I buy her the copies of Mark Twain books, and then they go to my library when she is done.

Conclusion

The students are so motivated to read all 12 books that they start doubling up on books. They set goals for themselves and they read books over Spring Break, Thanksgiving Break and Christmas Break.

We usually have a student teacher who holds a book club for them. They typically read Magic Tree House books. Some of the lower level readers have parents who will read to them and help them with the harder books. We try to meet the needs of all students by giving them lots of options.

I highly encourage you to try to do a book club with

your whole team. It certainly has made a difference in the lives of our students. Book clubs are fun for the students and the teachers. The best part is that the students are excited to read! It is exciting to see, as Stien and Beed (2004) stated, when a student “feels ownership and to take responsibility for his or her learning” (p. 510).

References

Miller, D. (2002). Reading with meaning: Teaching comprehension in the primary grades.

Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Stien, D., & Beed, P. (2004). Bridging the gap between fiction and nonfiction in the literature circle setting. The Reading Teacher, 57(6), 510-518.

Heather Ruffin teaches fourth grade at Helen Mathews Elementary in Nixa, Missouri. She feels that she is the luckiest person around to be able to teach where she went to school and give back to her community. She is currently working on her masters in Teaching and Learning from Missouri State University.

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