October is National Book Club Month

There’s a day, a week, a month for everything. October happens to be National Book Club Month, or Group Reading Month. While I’ve always enjoyed reading as a strictly solo activity (I’ve only just joined Good Reads in the last couple of months at my boss’s encouragement), expanding it to be a social event can be a great motivator to finish a book you’ve started, try a title or genre you otherwise wouldn’t have chosen, or even take up reading for pleasure as a hobby for the first time.

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Image source: NationalReadingGroupMonth.com

Not sure how to find your book club squad? Try using some of the search tools listed here by the American Library Association. You can look for group meetups to join in real life or opt for online, social media-based clubs if that suits your schedule better.

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Image description: An older brother reads a book to his younger sister.

Parents can even start a small, local book club for their children and their peers. Reluctant young readers may be encouraged by the social aspect of reading the same books that their friends are, with the promise of a playdate with their buddies once they’ve finished. Scholastic.com has some great tips for getting started. From their website:

Shoot for second-grade readers and up. Clubs work best when kids can read somewhat independently.
Aim for short sessions — an hour tops — otherwise, kids will lose steam.
Keep it loose. Even if your kid doesn’t finish the book, any amount of reading is good. She may tackle it later, after hearing pals rave about it.
Pick a spot. Meet at one another’s homes, book a free room at your local library, or gather outside at a park for a book-themed picnic.
Get the ball rolling. Parents can take turns jump-starting the discussion. Jot down questions as you read the book, or do an online search for guided questions. Good basics: Who was your favorite character and why? Did you like the ending or would you end it differently?
Get active. Your get-together will feel less like “reading class” if you tie in some activities. Make crafts based on the book’s theme, like a simple birdfeeder after reading Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan. Or a short comic strip based on Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.

My additional suggestions would be to DEFINITELY serve food. If you’re a Pinterest type of parent, by all means: go overboard with a themed treat and goodie bags. Otherwise, chips and fruit and juice boxes should be fine. And if your kiddo is an introvert and this entire idea simply won’t appeal to them, try the Book Club for Kids podcast, but note that its target audience is middle-grade readers.

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Image Description: Jars and trays filled with Harry Potter-themed snacks. Source: Sarah Blooms
And, as always, don’t count out what’s often a child’s first “book club:” storytimes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers at your local library! Happy Book Club Month!

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