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Book Club Fun

This year I went back and forth on whether or not to have my students partake in a book club (or literature circle, as most teachers call it).  I have had mixed success.  Some years many of the groups complained that they didn't like their books.  Some wanted to change books.  Some never finished their books.   The book club meetings sometimes lacked in the "discussion" department. Although I teach honors, some of my students don't even like to read! However, I decided to give it another try, but  I proceeded differently than in the past.
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First of all, about three weeks before we started, I showed students the board approved books for book club.  I made it clear that I had plenty of copies of each book and that they were more than welcome to choose one of these books.  I told students that they had two weeks to research books they might like to read and to bring in a summary of each.  They were also told they could bring summaries of any of the board approved books.  One student asked if they were supposed to write the summaries! Uh, not sure how you write a summary of a book you haven't read-so no-just get it off the internet! Then, student met in their potential book clubs and shared their three picks.  The group then decided on their top three choices.  After that, I directed them to amazon.com to read reviews of their potential choices.  Finally, they came up with a decision.  This was, by far, one of the most worthwhile activities I have had students do in regards to book club!  
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Of course, students were required to have parent permission in order to read any book not on the board approved list.  Although I love to read, I am pretty selfish with my time and tend to read adult books.  Therefore, I am not familiar with many of the middle school titles out there.  One parent did not approve of her child's choice, but it was not big deal!  She just joined another group.  

Some of the book titles read by book clubs:

A Man Called Ove
The Fifth Wave
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Aster Wood
When
Silent Girls

In my next post, I will talk about how I changed up the jobs from the monotonous literature circle jobs!

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