You may remember those books that you read as a teen…some of them were books you read for a class, while others were ones that you chose. Regardless of the purpose for reading a book, sharing it with others is a great way to see new perspectives and to get ideas from the author that you may have otherwise missed. Book clubs are a great way to not only get the most out of a book, but to also have fun along the way. Here are some ideas on how to start a book club for Teens.
How to Start a Book Club for Teens
1. Pick a Purpose
The first step in starting a successful teen book club is to choose a purpose for the club. If it is to share a book and have the group members read for enjoyment, then it would require the content to be of interest to each of the group members. If, however, the goal is to read for understanding and sharing of perspectives, then the teens can be of different reading levels and interests. By determining the goal of the group, you can best decide how to go about grouping the members.
2. Choose Meaningful Content
Most teens are beyond the young juvenile literature found on shelves of elementary school libraries. When choosing content, look for books that the group members will identify with or get greater meaning from. Depending upon the purpose of the group, you may look for teenage-based coming of age books (for enjoyable reading) or the classic read for most literature classes. Regardless of the specific purpose, steering clear from light summer novels and going for those with a bit more depth will help the group to have more meaningful conversations.
3. Books vs. Ebooks
You will want to decide whether or not your book club will choose to use a book in physical form or in eBook form. Not all books are offered in both formats, so this is a big consideration to make. You can easily find out by going to sites like Amazon and searching in their Kindle Store. Here you will find out if the book is on Kindle and in print. No Kindle? Not a problem! You can download their FREE Kindle App for use on any computer, tablet, or smartphone!
4. Provide Guidance
Though teenagers typically have more developed reading skills, it is still important to provide guidance as they read. If the group is reading older, classic literature, then the text will be more challenging for them to read and comprehend. Providing questions at book club meetings or helping to clarify content will help the group to understand what was read.
In the case of reading done for enjoyment, providing basic questions to lead conversation will help the group to share their ideas about what they read.
The purpose for reading the book (and the group’s understanding of it) will dictate how prominent a role the facilitator needs to take in meetings. If it seems that the book club is grasping the book without support, then perhaps no guidance is necessary (aside from providing a few questions for each meeting).
5. Make Meetings Fun
When it’s time for book club meetings, give the group a comfortable setting. Allow them to sit around a living room (or school lounge area) with refreshments, to talk about their book (rather than meeting in a local library). Perhaps they could rotate their meeting locations so that each member takes ownership for a book club meeting.
You may also want to allow for other activities, such as watching a movie, once the conversation has ended. This will help the group to remember that they are among friends as they work through the book together.
6. Celebrate the End
At the book’s end, give the book club a chance to celebrate. This may be in the form of a pizza party with movie viewing of the book (if available). It may also look like a trip to a local hangout. Regardless of the plans made for celebration, giving the group the opportunity to celebrate their work together will motivate them to be a part of future book clubs.
More to Consider…