I love reading. I love that it can transport you to another world, help you understand technical details of subjects that you never knew about, or even help you empathize with characters that you meet in real life. Reading is great for developing your vocabulary and writing skills or just helping you relax on a rainy afternoon. My kids and husband love reading too. When they were little, I used to read a chapter of a book to my kids each day. However, I never thought of doing a family book club. When author Deborah Lytton suggested it to me, I immediately knew it was a great idea. I asked her if she would share some book club guidelines with my readers who may also be interested in starting a family book club. She graciously agreed.
If you are not yet familiar Deborah Lytton, she is an author of Middle Grade and YA fiction. Her latest book series for Middle Grade readers is about a ten year old, Ruby Starr, who absolutely loves books. The second book in the series is due out in May 2018 and is called THE FANTASTIC LIBRARY RESCUE AND OTHER MAJOR PLOT TWISTS (Sourcebooks). I am pleased to share her book club guidelines for a successful book club. It is such a great way of spending time with family.
Seven Book Club Guidelines for Starting a Family Book Club
By Deborah Lytton
My teenage daughters and I started a book club a number of years ago as a bonding activity. Reading as a family gives us time away from homework, housework, and screens to connect with each other through the written word. In our famiy book club, we have laughed, cried, and made memories that will last forever.
Here are seven book club guidelines for starting your own successful family book club:
The Best Book
Begin by choosing a book that everyone will enjoy reading. It is always better to choose a book that seems younger than one that is too mature for your family. I recommend making a list of potential titles and hanging it on the kitchen wall so everyone can vote for their favorite.
The Ideal Page Count
If you have several book titles to choose from, try beginning with a shorter book so that you will be able to finish it. When reading as a family, it is always most encouraging to the group when you can reach the end of the story in a week or two.
Time and Place
Choose a time that works for your family. Read at the same time in the same place every day so that your family will be invested in the story and will remember where you left off. We like to read after dinner and we try to read at least one chapter a night. As we get to the end of a book, we usually read more chapters because the story is getting so exciting that no one wants to stop reading😊
Take turns reading aloud. It is good practice for everyone to read in front of a group, and who is better to support a reluctant reader than family? If the rest of the group is too young to read, then you can be the designated narrator. Remember to use lots of expressive tones and even funny facial expressions. Sometimes it helps to have a dictionary nearby in case there is a word you want to explain.
The best part about reading as a family is discussing the story. Reading together gives you a great opportunity to bond with your children as well as discuss important subjects that arise in literature. Don’t be afraid to pause in the reading to ask for comments or to explain something that the group doesn’t understand.
When we are in the middle of a book, I like to ask my daughters what they think will happen next. When we finish a book, I always ask them what they think of the ending. Which character has changed the most? Which character do they admire? How would they have written the story if they had been the author? If you would like more formal questions, you can often find reading discussion guides in the back of books. I have questions for my own books and some of my favorite reads on my website. Other authors provide discussion questions on their websites as well.
When you finish a book, be sure to choose the next book right away. If your family is anything like mine, they are busy! Finding time to read together every day takes a little effort, but once you have established it, the reward is priceless.
I hope you find these book club guidelines helpful. Tell us how your book club goes and share your own book club suggestions in the comments. Now you just need some popular book club books. If you have done a book club, what are your favorites so far?