Generate Excitement and Form Groups

Begin by providing students the list of titles you have curated. It may be important, especially for students who are not regular readers, to preview the titles so that they can make an informed choice. You might tease a few books by reading the first paragraphs, pages, or even a chapter aloud to the class (live or on a short video). You can also conduct short book talks or share book trailers of high-interest books.

The following resources can help you generate excitement for book clubs:

  • We Need Diverse Books has a free Booktalking Kit for educators, which includes brief summaries of a curated list of lesser-known children’s, middle grade, and YA books about diverse characters and by diverse authors.
  • Scholastic, YouTube, SchoolTube, and other websites can be good sources for “book trailers” for specific titles.
  • In 2019, the School Library Journal released a curated list of 8 YA BookTubers to Watch Right Now.

Consider partnering with students by asking them to share their favorite books. They can write short reviews and publish them to a Book Club Padlet, along with a cover image, Google Slide deck, or Google Doc. Students can also record a video book talk that they post to a class Flipgrid.

Create Book Club Groups

After students have been introduced to a number of titles, they can self-select into groups, or you can create groups of 2–4 students. While it is powerful when students can come together around a single book, discussing a topic or theme across different titles also provides a meaningful book club experience.

If it’s too challenging to organize groups around single titles, consider . . .

  • Genre book clubs (fiction, sci-fi, nonfiction, graphic novel, historical fiction)
  • Author book clubs (Elizabeth Acevedo, Samira Ahmed, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Jason Reynolds, Renée Watson, Gene Luen Yang, Ibi Zoboi, . . .)
  • Thematic book clubs (coming-of-age, overcoming obstacles, LGBTQ+, immigration, banned books, realistic fiction)

. . . where students in each book club read and discuss different, but related, titles.

 

Remember, at the end of the day, the goal is for students to read, talk about books, connect with one another, and foster community around stories!

Once everyone has a book, communicate how and how often your students should meet in their book clubs and make sure everyone has access to the necessary technology. When suggesting one or more technology platforms, take into account your district’s or school’s policy and seek parent or guardian permission as needed, especially for younger students.

Share How Students Will Communicate Their Learning

The focus of book clubs should be reading for pleasure and connecting over books, not assessment. Nevertheless, it is important that students are accountable for reading everyday and participating in their book club meetings. You can ask each student to check in on a weekly basis to report their attendance to book club meetings, update their reading progress, share something interesting from their last book club discussion, and communicate any issues they are having with their technology.

Consider the following options for book club meetings:

  • Online video chat (Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom)
  • Online written discussion (shared Google Doc)
  • Online chat (text message, Google Hangouts, social media)
  • Phone call (for pairs)

 

Additional suggestions for how students can reflect on their reading process and book club participation include:

  • Reflect in journals, email, blogs, a Padlet, or Flipgrid video about one or more of the following questions:

    • What was a book club highlight this week? It might be something you read or something that happened in your meeting.
    • What was challenging about book club this week? What steps can you take to overcome this challenge next week? How can your teacher support you?
    • Who are you as a reader? What do you like to read? When? Where? What is your favorite book? Favorite genre? Favorite author?
    • What do you want to read next? What excites you about this book?
  • Blog about their books. Blogs allow students to upload digital texts like photos, video clips, and articles about their books. They can create and share their blogs on platforms like Padlet, Kidblog, Edublogs, and Flipgrid, or on a shared Google Doc.
  • Post book reviews on a Padlet to help classmates choose their next books or prepare a book talk, teaser, or trailer to share with the class in a whole-class online meeting, Edublogs, Google Doc, or Flipgrid.

Questions to Consider:

  1. How do the books I recommend reflect the identities and experiences of my students?
  2. How will I get students excited for book clubs?
  3. Which students on my roster will need extra support—email, text, or video check-ins—to help them choose and get a hold of their books?
  4. How will I think about differentiation? What support can I provide my English Learners and students with accommodations?
  5. How will I hold students accountable in a way that encourages meaningful reflection?
  6. How can students share what they are reading and discussing with their classmates?

Download Our Remote Book Club Guide as a PDF

Remote Book Clubs: Nurturing Community and Connection

PDF
Remote Book Clubs: Nurturing Community and Connection

This guide provides tips and resources for launching remote book clubs that foster a sense of community and connection among students. 

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