The Battle of the Books program at Davis-Townsend elementary is very popular, so much so that the number of interested students far exceeds the available slots on the team. In order to include a greater number of enthusiastic readers, Heitman has designed an auxiliary book club that meets during lunch.
32 students were too many for a successful book club, so Heitman rallied interested staff members to divvy up the students into smaller groups. Heitman, her assistant, an EC teacher and a Title 1 reading specialist all meet with their respective groups on Wednesdays. Students attend with their dog-eared book in one hand and their lunch in the other. The small groups give students ample opportunity to dig deep into the books and engage in meaningful discussions.
Heitman chose 5 titles from this year’s North Carolina Children’s Book Awards list. Each group reads and discusses the same book concurrently, and in the spring students will be able to vote for their favorite NCCBA title. Students can check out the books, but many parents opted to purchase a set for their child.
The students’ energy is contagious and it doesn’t go unnoticed that the focus of the book club is on reading for the fun of it. If you are thinking about starting a book club in your school library, Heitman’s model could be easily adapted for any age group or book list.
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