An extra-curricular book club provides an opportunity to chat about books on a more personal level with your classmates. If you’d like to get creative away from the constraints of the curriculum, here are five easy steps to you started.
Step 1: Choose a book
The starting point is choosing a book for the first session and then each further session. Why not begin by offering a choice of books and having a vote? This allows everyone in the book club to feel involved.
If the book club is online, you could have a poll to select the book for the first session. For a face-to-face book club, you could raise your hands to vote. Or if you’d prefer to make the vote anonymous, each person can write their chosen book on a piece of paper and put it into a hat or jar.
Step 2: Decide on a location
For an online book club, set up a group chat/forum where everyone can make comments about the book. This can be an effective way to share ideas before the meeting. Next, decide on a date and send round a link for the video call.
If you are meeting in person, choose a quiet spot. It could be in a private garden, home, or a café. Just make sure it’s somewhere everyone will feel comfortable. Bring some snacks and try and have a kettle nearby so that you can offer everyone a hot drink. You could make a drinks/snacks rota for the group to share out hosting responsibilities.
Step 3: Find some talking points
Research the author
Talking about the author is a great starting point. See if you can find an author interview online or some quotes that you can share with the group to kick-start a discussion.
Every Penguin Reader has discussion questions at the back of the book. Take a look and choose a few for your book club to discuss.
Take a look at the ‘People in the story’ page of your Penguin Reader. Select a handful of characters to discuss. Or ask the question: which character do you identify with the most?
Step 4: Get the meeting started
Ask a couple of people in the group to prepare an informal presentation using the ‘Project Tasks’ section of the book. This is a useful way to get the meeting started, especially if the group is quite quiet. Others will have a chance to listen and warm up a bit before sharing their ideas.
Step 5: Plan ahead
At the end of each meeting, look at the blurb for the next book you plan to read. Ask the group to guess the genre and make predictions about the story. This is a great way to build enthusiasm for the next meeting.
And finally, be realistic about timescales. Leave enough of a gap between meetings so that everyone had time to read the book at a leisurely pace. Remember, this isn’t schoolwork. The most important thing is to enjoy the reading process, as well as each other’s company.