Building Bridges with Book Clubs

There’s nothing like coming back from a long break and kickstarting the New Year with new projects! Right before break, the students in Media Club voted to start a lunch-time book club. This week they selected Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher as their first read. (Mainly because all of the other suggestions were titles that most of them had already read. Popular titles by Ellen Hopkins, Libba Bray, Suzanne Collins, and Walter Dean Myers.) Now we just have to wait for the books to arrive! My club has some money to spend this year, and I wanted to provide the books for them as soon as possible.  I’m currently investigating  local businesses to serve as sponsors for subsequent books.

While the students are reading Crutcher, I’m going to suggest the same book as the next read for our also-fledgling Staff YA book club. The hope is that when students see the staff “Ask Me About My Book” signs, and notice that their teachers are reading the same book THEY are, it will spark impromptu discussion in the halls and classrooms about reading, teen issues, and anything else that comes up. In short: more opportunities to strengthen rapport.

Our staff club just finished James Dashner’s  The Maze Runner . Sadly, most of us were less than impressed, but that’s not the point of this post, nor is the point of book club to enjoy everything that we read. The purpose of the staff club is to give teachers a window into the literary worlds their students are enthralled with, to discuss literature, and to investigate possible curricular tie-ins in the process. It’s amazing how few staff would actually pick up a YA novel for pleasure reading. My goal with this club is to change this behavior.

I was pleasantly surprised with the diversity of staff who responded to my invitation. Ideally we would have someone from every curricular area. As it stands, we’re not too shabby :  an assistant principal, intervention specialists, our district technology coordinator, an ESL tutor, two middle school teachers, as well as the requisite English teachers. (I nearly nabbed a social studies teacher, who was interested, but has a pretty full coaching schedule, as well as a science teacher who teaches night classes and couldn’t make the commitment this semester. ) I may not have them now, but I WILL get them.  Once they see what they’re missing, they’ll be beating down the doors to participate! (Can you tell that I’m also focusing on more positive thinking this year?!  )  🙂


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