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Starting a students' book club - any advice?

Discussion in 'English' started by nolu, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Evening all,

    Last week I accepted an English teaching post at a high performing girls' grammar school. In my interview one of the questions was what extra curricular activities I would be willing/able to run.

    I have had a very ambitious but I think marvellous idea and I don't know if anyone on here has done something similar at their schools...

    I would like to run a book club - like a reading group. In fact I would like to run 2 (one for years 7-9, another for years 10-13), run on alternative weeks during the school term. Basically I would select the texts for the first 2 meetings (4 texts in total) after which the other members would suggest a book that they would like the other group members to read, so that each fortnight the group reads a book put forward by one of their peers.

    The main problems I can forsee are:
    1. Getting hold of possibly 15-20 copies of the same text per week (that would work out at over 700 books per year)
    2. Paying for them!
    3. Getting rid of them once they've been read
    4. Ordering the books far enough in advance to distribute them on time

    I am thinking of approaching Waterstones in the local town to see if they do some sort of discount for bulk orders, and maybe hand the books to Waterstones Marketplace once they've been read to cut down on costs, however there is no denying this will be an expensive project. I don't think it's fair to ask school kids to buy possibly 3 books a term, especially as the school isn't in a particularly wealthy area, so I would want it to be as cheap for them to access as possible.

    If anyone has had any experiences of setting up a club like this I would be interested to hear how you got the money, how much support you had from your school/dept, and how well it worked.

    I'm hopeful that if I do this properly I may be onto a winner :eek:)

    Cheers for your input
     
  2. Evening all,

    Last week I accepted an English teaching post at a high performing girls' grammar school. In my interview one of the questions was what extra curricular activities I would be willing/able to run.

    I have had a very ambitious but I think marvellous idea and I don't know if anyone on here has done something similar at their schools...

    I would like to run a book club - like a reading group. In fact I would like to run 2 (one for years 7-9, another for years 10-13), run on alternative weeks during the school term. Basically I would select the texts for the first 2 meetings (4 texts in total) after which the other members would suggest a book that they would like the other group members to read, so that each fortnight the group reads a book put forward by one of their peers.

    The main problems I can forsee are:
    1. Getting hold of possibly 15-20 copies of the same text per week (that would work out at over 700 books per year)
    2. Paying for them!
    3. Getting rid of them once they've been read
    4. Ordering the books far enough in advance to distribute them on time

    I am thinking of approaching Waterstones in the local town to see if they do some sort of discount for bulk orders, and maybe hand the books to Waterstones Marketplace once they've been read to cut down on costs, however there is no denying this will be an expensive project. I don't think it's fair to ask school kids to buy possibly 3 books a term, especially as the school isn't in a particularly wealthy area, so I would want it to be as cheap for them to access as possible.

    If anyone has had any experiences of setting up a club like this I would be interested to hear how you got the money, how much support you had from your school/dept, and how well it worked.

    I'm hopeful that if I do this properly I may be onto a winner :eek:)

    Cheers for your input
     
  3. I run something similar. My book club is for Key Stage 3 only (it's open to KS4, but they don't seem interested and no-one from Year 10/11 ever turns up!)
    I run in once a week before school. We come into school at 8.00am and go into the library. We normally have breakfast there - chocolate croissants, orange juice etc. We then take it in turns to talk about the book that we are reading - it might be reading a favourite passage out, or talking about the storyline or favourite characters. It lasts about 30 minutes and the kids love hearing about what I'm reading (and it make me actually read!)
    It's fun and we have a mini-reward at the end of each term. Pupils keep a reading log of what they are reading and although it wasn't my idea, they have a competition to see who has read the most books in the term.
    Hope this helps!
     
  4. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

    What about using one or more from the 'My Penguin' collection? You could have a competition to see who designs the best book cover as well as enjoying the books. You could even submit the designs to Penguin
    This is the Penguin book site:
    http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/minisites/mypenguin/index.html
    The rrp is £5, but Smiths is selling them at £3.50 at the moment:
    http://www.whsmith.co.uk/CatalogAndSearch/SearchWithinCategory.aspx?gq=my+penguin&cat=%5cBooks
    The snag with this is of course that the books are not easily reusable - but it could work as a one off. Perhaps this could be one of the times you ask the pupils to purchase their own book.
    I'm sure I've seen something like The Penguin Classics on sale in Smiths for a pound each. It might be worth checking out bookshops to see if they are doing any series like this at a very cheap price.
     
  5. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Sorry to barge in on this discussion, but I'm interested. Clare, would you mind just talking through what you mean when you say "we read" a book per half term? Ie - week by week, what would happen in a particular meeting?
     
  6. Maybe a book per half term is more realistic (and cheaper)! I thought one way to help students stay more committed would be to find a way of allowing them to access the books for fre, that way it's no big deal if they didn't like a book...

    I like the idea of marketing it as a g&t thing to the school - maybe they'll stump up a few £ as well!
     
  7. Clarerees

    Clarerees New commenter

    No bother, though struggling to remember a little. Firstly, I think I actually did get funding because of the G and T aspect which....(and this was important)...meant that we certainly got jaffa cakes (type of biscuits caused as much discussion as which book to read). Can't remember if this also paid for the books though!
    In terms of how 'we read' the books, it varied. It was more like a lesson than with an adult book group, but yeah, the girls did read most of it themselves at home. However, they actually did want some close analysis so, for example, with Beloved, I chose some key passages which they then enjoyed discussing. With sections that I knew they'd struggle with in other texts, I also suggested that we should read them as a group- which I got no complaints about.
    If you look at the sheet I've uploaded for A Handmaid's Tale, that was at the end of a half term and was the focus of discussion for about two of the meetings.
    G'luck!

     

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