I facilitate for 2 after school book clubs for students at my school-one for K-2 age group and one for 3rd-5th Graders. 30 years ago a teacher started this program with her students and the district picked it up and created a competition based on the books. So we get a list every year of different books from our Library Services Dept.-most of the books are Bluebonnet Nominees, the rest are librarian suggestions/classics. Every school uses these lists differently.
For me, it's not so much about the contest, but creating an environment where we can discuss and get excited about books. I know personally, the best part about reading a book that you just LOVE is sharing that with others. I don't keep books after I've read them-I pass them on to someone else or donate them to Better World Books. We meet after school every week and I really try to keep things interesting. We read a book this year called A Fine Dessert which is about how they made whipped cream 300 years ago to today. So we made whipped cream by hand using a whisk and a mechanical beater. They were surprised at how difficult it was:
Sometimes it's just a matter of making a snack to make a book memorable-this was from Fish in a Tree:
We read several books this year about political activism which has sparked many conversations about society today. I am so impressed with how informed they are at this age-that may be one good thing coming out of our current government. :)
My favorite part is having moments like the one I had this week. We went to our competition, we came in 4th-I think it was a good experience for them. I always write notes to them thanking them for their hard work and participation. I also encourage them to continue on with the program in Middle School. One of the 5th Graders came to my room this week to tell me that they were indeed continue next year. I taught this student in Kindergarten and he has always had difficulty reading. I think he started attending book club because his friends did it. But when he told me he would continue next year....that made every hour spent with the kiddos worth it!
So if you don't already have one on your campus-I recommend starting one. It's incredibly rewarding! I have ideas on how to make it better in the future-I saved an article from SeeSaw on how the kids could record their review of the books and then comment on each others. I want to do a graphic novel club which would end in a Comic-Con type activity at the end. There are so many ways you can do it.