If you’re a long-time reader, you know how much I LOVE Ralphie. She’s been one of my dearest friends for more than a decade and she is wonderful in so many ways. She is especially fantastic in the mothering and educating department – I am always inspired by the amazing things she does with her family and I’m so happy that she shares her wisdom through her Instagram account, Simply on Purpose.
Years ago, she shared all the details about how to host a children’s book club over the summer and I’m delighted to pass it on to more families this year! If you’d like to run your own children’s book club this summer, read on for all the details.
Ralphie here. I am the mother of 4 delicious chickens (girls), and one of my favorite things to do is teach them how they should feel about reading.
I do my best to maximize their interest by getting fresh books at the library every week, occupying an entire wall with forward facing book shelves, and creating a children’s book club each summer.
Starting a Children’s Book Club
The summer book club lasts for 6 weeks, and we met once a week for 2 hours. We did it in the morning simply because I had a napper, but afternoons work just as well.
Queenie started out inviting 6 friends to participate, then the word got out and 4 more girls were added. I also invited an older girl to be my helper. She set things out for me, cleaned up behind me, and helped teach smaller groups when we broke up.
Each week, we had a theme. Some of the themes that we did were: experiments, fairy tales, friendship, pioneers, classic picture books, etc. One week, we even focused on a specific author, Bill Pete.
Children’s Book Club Agenda:
Each week, we followed the same schedule:
Featured Books – This was the first part and took the majority of our time. We would read anywhere from one chapter book to six picture books, depending on their length. We would then talk about each one, how it had to do with our theme, and make connections to what we already knew.
- Activity – This activity reinforced our theme. For Experiments week, we made oobleck. For Princess week, we had our own princess academy where they had to pass of royal acts such as waving, walking with books on their head, and smiling a lot! When we studied Bill Pete, we learned he used charcoal to draw his pictures, so the girls tried their hand at it too.
- Snack – This were provided by the girls’ parents. They did an amazing job of bringing food that went along with the theme. For our pioneers theme one mom brought homemade bread and butter, berries and beef jerky. I found that moms were more than willing to help and it really made my job so much easier!
- Book Talk – For the last 20 minutes we gathered together again and I showed more themed books. I would just briefly touch on each one, giving a summary and showing pictures, just enough to spark their interest and curiosity in the book. I made a list of these books and sent them home each week so that the girls could check them out at the library or buy them. This had to be my favorite part of camp. I loved watching them get so enthusiastic about books!
Queenie was 7 (going on 8) when we created this children’s book club, but you can easily tweak things here and there to make it more age-appropriate for your child.
Our entire family has benefited from a children’s book club as the younger ones just toddled along with us. As parents we all know it is important to teach our children how to read, but don’t be afraid to teach them to love it too!
P.S. If you came over from Simply on Purpose, you might love my Raising Readers course – it’s a FREE five day email series with lots of hands-on (easy!) ideas for making reading fun for everyone in your family plus lots of book recommendations for a variety of ages from babies on up! Thousands of families have taken it in the past year and given it amazing review – I think your family will love it too! You can sign up here!
If you’re interested in running your own children’s book club this summer, these posts might be helpful!
- 35 read aloud books for elementary schoolers
- How to make reading a fun part of your family
- Where to find great books for your child