I love using a book club with some of my students, but it could also be used as a whole class. Book clubs are a great way to practice different comprehension skills, as well as give students a chance to take leadership over their learning. This Book Club product is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Why I use a Book Club
I love to use a book club with some of my readers who are reading past the kindergarten benchmarks. They don’t have to work on decoding – they can pretty much decode anything you put in front of them. However, these students usually struggle with deeper comprehension of the stories they are reading. When I taught first grade, I ended the year with every student doing a book club at least once.
The book club is perfect to isolate some of the comprehension skills needed for critical understanding of the books they read. It also gives these students leadership over their learning because of how I use the book club with my students.
How I use a Book Club
I meet with my book club on Monday to give them the new book and their job for the week. Then they spend the rest of the week reading it and completing their role. On Friday we meet to have the book club and to discuss the roles. In kindergarten, they really aren’t ready to have the meeting on their own, but I try to interrupt as little as possible and to let them lead as much as possible.
Not all of these students may be at the same reading level, and that is okay! Pick a book that everyone can read successfully. Remember, you are working on comprehension and not decoding, so reading an “easier” book is perfectly fine and often more beneficial!
Sometimes, I may not have enough students in my room that would benefit from the book club, so I have pulled a student from other kindergarten classes to form the group.
I usually start the book club with the Summarizer who gives the group a brief synopsis of the book. This helps remind everyone about the story they read (because they may have last read it a few days ago). The Summarizer has two sheet options, depending on the book and the child’s abilities. The student can either write a sentence for what happened in the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story. The student can also jot down who the characters are, where the setting is, what happens in the beginning and the middle, what the problem is, and how the book solves the problem and ends.
The Questioner’s job is to come up with questions to ask the group about the book. This helps with recalling the events and characters of the story. There are two response sheets to help guide the students. There is a response sheet that asks the student to come up with specific questions, like a question about the character or a why question. The other sheet has 6 blank boxes for the student to write in any questions they want. For both sheets there is a spot for the student to write a question and to write the answer. This is helpful for our book club discussion because then they have the answer ready to share!
The Connector is a great job for the book club because making connections to books can be hard for young students, especially if it is not an obvious connection (for example, if the character takes care of a dog and they have a dog). So the Connector’s job is to share a connection to their own life and to another book. In the book club discussion the other students can add their own connections too!.
The Illustrator gets to draw something from the book – maybe their favorite part or their favorite character. Then, the student has to write what the picture is of and why they drew it.
Tips and Tricks for the Book Club
In order to work towards handing over almost all of, or all of, the responsibility to your students, have the same routine in your book club each time. For example, always start with the summarizer and then always end with the illustrator.
It also helps to give the students a bookmark to take with them so that throughout the week they can remember what job they have.
I organize everything in folders or packets, so it is easy for me to keep track of who needs to do what role. For example, I will give each student a stapled packet of all the jobs. Then I can easily check and make sure that they do every job once before we repeat jobs. I keep extra copies in my folder so I am prepared for when they need new packets.
A book club can be a really effective way to work with students on their comprehension skills. The book club also makes the students be more responsible for their learning, as a lot of their work they do on their own time and only come together once a week to have a group discussion about the book.