Ask an Agent: How do You Handle Book Clubs in Schools?

askanagent2You’ve got questions,  we’ve got answers! Our volunteer Agents are on the job! Here’s what they have to say this week….

Question: How have you handled book discussions in the past? I’d like to do one at our local high school during lunch, but am unsure how to go about it.




Angela (Madison Middle Prep School ) says:

There are a few ways of going about it. You could do book talks and introduce the students to different titles. Everyone can read a different book and then give a summary to the group, or you could go the traditional route of everyone reading the same book and getting together to discuss it.
Other alternatives are writing book reviews together and publishing them, creating book trailers, or Skype author visits.

Kathy (Stanley Clark School) says:

It depends on the age and motivation of the group. For younger students I choose the books and find any initial questions. I also try to find a book trailer and any other extras.  For older students, I may choose the initial book and lead the initial discussion. I would have the older ones give book suggestions for future meetings. If the group is big enough, I assign 2 leaders per meeting to lead the discussion. I still try to find quizzes trailers, etc to enhance discussion.  Here are some additional links to check out: Book Clubs in the Library Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3

Melinda (Galesburg Public Library) says:

I have an in-house teen/tween book club called Chapter Chompers, as well as a monthly lunchtime booktalk program at our 2 public junior high schools called Books and Bites. Chapter Chompers is a pretty standard book group — we all read the same book and discuss it at a Thursday evening meeting while we eat pizza.  The group is open to grades 6-12, and I usually get 5-8 teens per meeting (almost always mostly junior high students). Last year I got $$ from our Friends group to provide a free paperback copy of the book to each teen to keep, but I did not get that funding this year so we will be requesting copies of each month’s book through interlibrary loan.

For Books and Bites, I visit both of our local junior highs once a month during lunch time. Each month, the school librarian and I choose a theme, and we each choose 3 books that fall within that theme and prepare short booktalks to promote them. We try to do the same theme at both schools, so I only have to prepare one set of talks per month. Then the students bring their lunch trays to the school library and eat lunch there (which they always think is SO cool) while the school librarian and I tell them about our books. We make and hand out a book mark each month that lists the titles we talked about.  This program has proved to be really popular!  We usually get around 30 students during 6th grade lunch, with slightly smaller numbers for 7th grade and less than 10 for 8th grade. By 8th grade they’ve usually gotten too cool for us. 🙂  I have been so lucky to have great school librarians who are committed to partnering with me, because without that commitment a program like this could never get off the ground.


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