Reading is a big focus in school at all grade levels. In fact, many of the tutoring requests we receive are related to early literacy skills up to high-school English. Yet, one of our favourite tips is to encourage students to read for fun! If in doubt on how to accomplish this, you may want to consider starting a family book club. Parents who model reading for their kids may notice them reading for pleasure too. Start by reading regularly with a family book club and instill strong reading habits that will last a lifetime. Here’s how to start a family book club of your own:
Choose books by theme rather than title
In a book club with such a large age range between adults and children, everyone will obviously prefer to read books that are closer to their reading levels. So, a great way to counteract this is to let people read different, age-appropriate titles based on the same theme. That way there’s still plenty to share!
Some examples of themes could be: ‘a book about a journey,’ ‘a book about animals,’ or even something like ‘the main character solves a mystery.’
Allow picture books and graphic novels
In fact, choosing picture books and graphic novels could be exciting themes to break up traditional reading! Even for adults, picture books can be rich conversation starters. But especially for younger and reluctant readers, picture books and graphic novels are a great way to encourage children to pick up a book during family book club time. Don’t worry, parents. Chapter books will come.
Have together-reading time
We highly recommend that at least until everyone gets into the habit of reading and enjoying, family book club time should always be together. That way kids can see you modeling the enjoyment of reading yourself!
Whether family book club looks like everyone sitting quietly together for 20-30 minutes, or family members read part of their book aloud to one another, well that’s up to you. Experiment based on the ages of your children to see what fires their enthusiasm.
It’s important to explain that sometimes reading is a great way to learn new things or ideas, and that will give them plenty to talk about – with lots of people through their life!
Make sure that every family book club ends in at least a brief discussion about their book. If a child isn’t sure what to talk about, ask who their favourite character was, or if there was a part of the book that was funny.
Some extra tips:
- Be flexible and adaptable – rules might have to change to meet the needs of early readers, especially in the beginning days of family book club.
- Remind kids it’s okay to say you don’t like a book – encourage them to verbalize what they didn’t like and use that information to help pick out a new book!
- Make reading time a unique, special time to encourage participation. That can involve making special snacks or drinks that are just for family book club, or even blanket forts for reading under.
- Encourage extended family and friends to join and share their books.
We hope these ideas help you get started with a family book club in your household! From time to time our tutoring team will share spring and summer book pairings to help keep you inspired, so everyone can keep reading and having a fun time learning.
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