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Library Zone: Starting A Book Club

The essentials:

· How many members are you going to have?

· Arrange a monthly meeting, time and place.

· Advertise in the school.

· Set out some informal rules.

· Put together a cheat sheet of discussion questions. [Or download our guide.]


Things to think about:

· Look at how long a meeting is going to be, you want to make sure that everyone has a chance to have their say.

· Remember to consider when the holidays fall when planning meetings. If you’re struggling to put a monthly meeting in the calendar why not suggest reading part of a short story or poetry collection.

· Remember to check where and when other school clubs meet, you don’t want to clash with other popular activities.

· When you have a group of pupils interested it might be good having a meeting where they can get to know each other. Find out what types of books they would like to read and how they’d like to pick them. Remember to give them choices, this should be a fun activity for them and not feel like another lesson.

· Make sure that you can get the books in time for them to read. You might want to arrange the books a couple of meetings in advance, and set a more popular book for your first meeting.

· While a book club should be fun you should still have a few rules laid out. These will entirely depend on the needs of you and your pupils.

· Consider taking notes during the meeting, not only will you get to know the pupils better but getting their input will help you within the library when picking new stock.

· Eventually the pupils will get more comfortable in the group and lead the discussion more, but until that time it might be handy to have a list of possible questions to get them started.

· Do you want to get anything more out of the group? You could start a book group noticeboard with their reviews and use it as a way to advertise the group to other pupils.

· Create a list of books that members might like as further reading outside of the group.

· Remember that publishers produce a lot of advertising materials. It might be worth getting in touch with some to see if they can get you posters, bookmarks and other items. You might be able to create goodie bags or give the pupils something to take home with them.

· Publishers also make proof copies, these are uncorrected copies of their books that they send out in advance of publication. Try getting in touch with the publishers and see if they would send you sets that you could use in your book club. This could save you money if you can get a couple of sets in the year, it also means that the pupils will have something to keep after they’ve read it. It will also be fun for them to read something before anyone else!

· Get the group to create their own specific questions on the books they read, e.g. specific questions about characters or places in the book. You can produce a sheet of questions that can be used with another group or make them available in the library for other pupils.


See our discussion questions by clicking the image below.