Start A Book Club
Nurture a love of books and create lasting friendships by starting a book club for your kids.
How to Start Your Own Book Club
Books are one of the most important investments you can make in your child’s education. But, books are expensive, children are less inclined to read these days and you can’t keep every book you buy, right? Plus, once they’ve read the book and loved it – they want more. Sharing books is the answer.
At The Book Tree Club we encourage setting up your own mini book club. Just like adults love meeting and chatting about books, kids will have so much fun sharing their best books, receiving new ones to try and meeting other children. Parents of younger kids can choose for them. Just like you join a children’s play ball or music group, think of book club as a group that encourages a love of books. You’ll also get to save on buying books and once you’ve all read the book, the buyer gets to keep it or you can consider donating it.
We love recommending books your kids will love and we can send you book packs to get you started. But first, let’s run through the steps to set up your own book club.
8 steps to set up a book club
1. Name your club
Pick a fun name and create an identity around your club. Are you the Raising Readers or the Book Babies? If it’s a club for older kids, perhaps you chose a theme, such as fantasy books or horsey adventures… Decide if you have a goal, such as encouraging the reading of diverse children’s books or just sharing book series or finding books to get reluctant readers going.
2. Decide on numbers
For smaller kids, keep it to a maximum of 6. It gets tricky co-ordinating lots of parents and little people. For older kids up to 10 works well. Unless it’s a school club then you could do the whole class. Bigger groups can be hard to manage and if you’re meeting in-person, you’ll need to make sure everyone stays focused on the books – for the first half of the book club at least!
3. Choose your location
Online or in-person? If it’s online, it’s easy – just make sure everyone has access to Wi-Fi and find a time that works for everyone. Remember, you’ll have to send the books to each other once you’ve read them, so being in the same city helps. But if you’re having zoom meets, then couriering books cross-country can work too. Many book clubs work on a rotational basis in each other’s homes. Covid-permitting, this is fun and makes it more of a play date event with snacks and tea time. Snacks definitely help keep the childrens’ attention on the Book Club!
4. Set up the admin
Select a parent-in-charge of communications and create a whatsapp or email group. Decide on a roster of hosting and buying books. For younger kids, parents should be on hand for all meetings, and for kids over 8, at least one parent should be around to manage the discussion and keep the book focus going. Records should be kept on who has taken which books, to ensure they are returned at subsequent meetings. Decide how often you’ll meet. Once a month is usually a good idea unless you’re keen to swap books more frequently. Keep meetings from 45 minutes to an hour, depending on whether you are online or in person. Let children have some time to run about as well if they are younger.
5. Teach good book manners
You’ll be sharing books so decide on a basic set of rules around books. We encourage children to read anywhere and everywhere, which sometimes leads to water marks and dog ears. Torn pages and disrespecting books however, are no-no’s. A reminder that these are ‘library’ books should do the trick. Cover books with plastic if they are precious to you. Along with book manners, encourage good meeting manners so everyone listens to each other and gets a turn to give their opinion. Remind them not everyone loves the same books!
6. Select the books
This is the best part. Decide if each member gets a turn to buy a set number of books, or if everyone just brings one or two books they have read and swaps them. Let everyone know which book you’ll donate so you don’t duplicate. Decide on books you all want to read and those that don’t fit that criteria. Create a wish list of books and circulate it. We have some great recommendations per age group here.
7. Encourage talking
Encourage the children to talk about the books. Help them along if they get stuck for ideas. Have fun with the books by reading aloud from a page or two. For smaller children, you could read a whole picture book. Each child could get a chance to do a little fun book presentation on the book they read or dress up as a character. Discussing the book is great practice for comprehension skills and if they get stuck ask them questions with prompts like these. (add book questions graphic)
8. Extend the reading
Add fun creative activities to your sessions. Throw in some art supplies and spend time making book markers with the book club name on them. Make your own books and practice creative writing if your members enjoy that. Above all – it should be fun, not a chore. Attend book author signings and book fairs as a group, and visit the library together followed by ice-cream treats. If you manage to make book club the best fun ever, you’ll have dedicated readers for life.
Send us your Book Club pictures and we’ll send you a book to share!