I have been running a small book club for pupils in year 10 in 2014-15. It takes place every Wednesday morning before school, from 8.15-8.40am, in the Library. Each week we get together for a breakfast snack and a chat about whatever we have been reading that week.
The thinking behind the club is primarily to get together to have an informal chat about books, share the books we love, recommend great books to one another and find new fantastic books to read. Sometimes we all will have chosen to read the same book, other times different books by the same author, sometimes along a similar theme or genre, and yet other times completely different books altogether. Each week we will have a chat about what we want to read next, and make a choice for what we are going to read next. There is never any pressure to finish the book within the week and, if particular students didn’t like the book, they do not feel obliged to finish it… we talk about why we didn’t like it, or why we did, and move on. Sometimes, the choices of book will be an additional book that students read alongside other books they are reading outside of the book club too, and so we tend to read different books from one another as well, and talk about those too.
The big drive behind it for me, however, is to be able to extend the spectrum of books that our year 10 and 11 students are reading by challenging them with a range of poetry, modern and classic fiction (or Literature with a capital L) and non-fiction that will take them out of their comfort zone with new authors and books that would potentially normally be read at A-level or university. In this sense, students in the club will get to read books that they might not normally pick up, but through reading them will broaden their reading and exposure to great books and ideas, potentially having a positive knock-on effect to their grades.
This year, book club has been a fantastic addition to the week and I think that we have covered some brilliant books that have opened students’ eyes to a wide range of writing. Below you will hopefully find a “bookshelf” that I have set up on Goodreads that showcases the books that we have read. I plan to add book reviews of some of these books on the Book Reviews page, written by members of the club, and these will continue into 2015-16, when I hope to have a few new members to add to the group too.
So, if you are interested in joining our book club and are in years 10 or 11, please let me know, and look out for new ones being set up for sixth-form and key stage three pupils in 2015-16 too.