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Not Your Mama's Book Club

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. As a child, I started reading early and devoured books! I got my first library card in first grade during a school fieldtrip to the local library and I have been hooked since then. I would check out 5-10 books each time. I don't utilize the library for personal reading as much as I should. I tend to just buy my books for keeps now. My bookshelves are overflowing with books from ceiling to floor. The idea of visiting faraway places, castles, farms, outer space, and islands whenever I wanted drew me in. I truly think my love of traveling stems from my love of reading.

For me, reading was (and still is) a form of learning and relaxation. It allows me to temporarily remove any stress I may have by becoming a new character or visiting a new place. I love learning from books just as much as I love learning from other people, formally (in a class) or informally. Reading with others is a way to connect with them through shared reading experiences and discussions. We can talk about our feelings about a character or event, a memory or even future dreams.

Reading exposes you to various writing styles, topics, and even people. It can improve emotional and social development and well-being; and change your perspective on a controversial topic. As an educator, I also know that reading is a way to:

  1. Increase communication

  2. Increase comprehension

  3. Build vocabulary

  4. Improve fluency

  5. Improve writing

  6. Improve spelling

  7. Learn new things

  8. Expose students to the world

  9. Apply critical thinking skills and other reading skills

  10. Teach empathy and other life skills

I love teaching reading to children. When I was a classroom teacher, it was my favorite subject to teach...AND I am great at it! I have taught ELA to every grade level from PreK through high school. To develop a love of reading, I expose (my) children early to different genres, read to them often (even the older ones), and chose books that were interesting and relatable. In my home/homeschool we have a family book club which is really a monthly novel study. A novel study is essentially reading a novel together and discussing it. It is a way to create connections and bond over shared experiences, thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs, etc. Novel studies are a great way to build a love of reading by making it fun and exciting. The goal is to pick high quality literature and create engaging, thought-provoking activities to help students thinking critically, make personal connections, dive deeper into the story, and possibly change how they view themselves, others or the world (in a positive way).

I alternate between choosing the books and letting my sons choose the book. We have read books historical fiction, fantasy books, biographies and more. We read one book per month. If it's short or just a really good pageturner, we just plow through it.

Book clubs/Novel studies are a great way to give your ELA class a boost. To get started today:

1. Ask your children (your students or actual son(s)/daughter(s)) what they like to read; what stories they are interested in.

2. Create engaging activities and projects that target multiple learning styles.


Have your learner take create a photo slideshow of characters, illustrate an event from the story or create a diorama.


Have your learner respond to a video discussion prompt, complete a journal entry, write a script for the book or even act it out for family, friends, neighbors!


Take your learner on a fieldtrip of one of the settings (or similar settings) such as a restaurant or actual city or make a craft related to the story.


Have your learners rewrite the ending to solve the problem of the main character, conduct a survey about a related topic or create their own game!


Have your learner write a song or rap, create an original (or curated) score for the books or simply let them listen to music from the book's time period while reading.


Have these learners create a podcast sharing their reflections or feelings about the book or make a vision board.


Have your learners conduct a peer teaching lesson about the book or engage in active discussions with others who have read the book (or send an email to the author!)


Have your learners connect with nature by reading the book outside on the grass, plant a flower or vegetable that may be mentioned in the book or could represent the main character.

Feel free to check out 2021-2022 book club books (with optional resources; Password is digischolars2022) listed below. As we read a new book, I will keep adding titles and resources so feel free to bookmark this page! I am looking forward to hearing all about your newly created book club! If you would like support getting your book club up and running, feel free to connect with me.

Jala and the Wolves

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