I love book clubs – I belong to several, each with its own unique style and theme. I love getting together with a small group of fellow booklovers and chatting about a book – it’s a perfect social activity for a shy extrovert like myself.
So, when I was offered the opportunity to facilitate a couple of kids book clubs at the library, I was thrilled! Our Early Readers book club is a fantastic opportunity for young children in grades K-3 to make new friends, explore the library, and get introduced to new books in a positive and fun environment.
Our little group met at the library once a month on a Saturday afternoon for four months. If you know anything about young children (or me, for that matter), you’ll know that sitting around talking about “themes” and “character development” wasn’t really a viable option for this book club, so I made sure to develop a program that would hopefully get kids excited about the books they were reading.
Since the program was so much fun and went over such a treat, I thought I’d dedicate a few posts to sharing some of the books we read together, along with some of the different activities I used.
Moo! by David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka is a brilliantly imaginative picture book that tells a hilarious story using only a single word and some well-placed punctuation. The ending is priceless, and will definitely have kids squealing with laughter. Suffice it to say, this is a naughty, naughty cow!
After reading the book aloud to our partners, to much giggling, we turned our attention to creating our own one-word picture books using all sorts of different animals!
This has got to be one of the easiest activities ever – all you need is blank paper, drawing implements and some creative kidlets.
Among our many creations we had a mouse on the run from a very determined exterminator, a dog in search of a friend, and a cat who should have rethought his life choices.
This simple activity works really well for mixed-age and mixed-language level groups – it doesn’t require much writing, and allows children to let their creativity lead them. Several of the children in my group were English language learners, so we worked together to spell out the sounds their animals made, but the animals can express themselves in whatever language their creator feels most comfortable in.
Creating their own little books encourages children to see themselves as creators in their own right, with imaginative stories to tell. The book club format is so exciting and empowering because there are no grades, no right or wrong answers, no requirements or expectations to meet here (beyond our ground rules of being respectful and kind to each other). Every participant is free to let their imagination lead them, and create whatever they feel like (including a tiny cat languishing in the largest jail known to mankind).
Hurray for book clubs!