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Try a Bookclub: Children's bookclub taster session for 8 to 12 year olds. Ciara Hogan


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Try a book-club was a programme ran to give children the opportunity to take part in a book-club and determine whether it was something they would enjoy. Our monthly junior book-club is well subscribed to by children who are heavy library users. It was hoped that the programme would encourage reluctant children to try something new. Children were given six weeks to read the book . This gave all reading levels a chance to read the book at their reading pace. The programme was ran alongside the Summer Stars reading programme. It was hoped that this would give children with a lot of after school activities an opportunity to take part. The book chosen was ‘Tin’ by Pádraig Kenny. Slightly difficult in storyline which I felt was important to challenge the children.

The programme was well subscribed with a group of twelve children taking part. These were mixed in age, gender and reading interests. During the meeting, I gave an introduction to book-clubs and we set some ground rules for discussion . Each child got an opportunity to discuss their opinion of the book which varied in length. This was guided with follow up questions from me which hoped to further critical discussion. Afterwards, we furthered discussion of character depth by drawing our own robots based on the main characters in the book. This allowed the children to understand the process of character creation and descriptive writing.

The event was well received by the children and the group were open to discussion. Four of the twelve children signed up for the monthly book-club afterwards and have become key members to our discussions. The event allowed our library to provide an inclusive event in the summer programme that’s only limit was that children had to be between eight and twelve.

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Try a Bookclub: Children's bookclub taster session for 8 to 12 year olds. Ciara Hogan

  1. 1. Try a Bookclub: Children’s Bookclub Taster for 8 to 12 year olds Ciara Hogan
  2. 2. Celbridge Junior Bookclubs Children’s Book club • 10-12 year olds Teen Bookclub • 13-15 year olds Young Adult Bookclub • 16-18 year olds In-House Bookclubs Primary School Bookclubs • 5 currently Secondary School Bookclub • Senior Cycle Also provide class sets to schools • For 5 schools in the area Outreach Bookclubs
  3. 3. Making Bookclubs Inclusive • Bookclub members consistent library users • Was I doing enough to reach out to new participants? • Potential barriers • Time • Busy schedules of children and parents • Understanding • What was the children’s understanding of a bookclub • Advertising • How can I reach out to those not engaging in library marketing
  4. 4. A Few Changes • Age Range • Widened from 10-12 to 8-12 • Reading Pace and Assisted Reading • Late June to mid August • Availability of audiobook • Welcome • Make the effort with each child signing up • Explain the routine of bookclub
  5. 5. Book Choice • Kildare author • Rich vocabulary • Challenging for younger readers • Engaging plot for older readers • 2/3 out of 5 • Enabled discussion and criticism
  6. 6. Some Things I Have Learned… • Every Voice Counts • Encourage, don’t pressure • Bookclub should always be a positive experience • Make a routine • For me, ask the same questions each month What would you give the book out of 5, and why? Did you have a favourite character? What was your favourite part of the book?
  7. 7. Activity • Informal activity leading to chat • Use of technology • Digital flipchart • Twitter • International postcard exchange • Engagement with children’s bookclub in Michigan • Opportunity to share book recommendations between children
  8. 8. Draw your own Robot • Based on Padraig Kenny’s characters • Exploring character creation and depth • Furthered discussion on the book • In an informal manner • Allowed insight into writing process
  9. 9. Greater Understanding of the World Around Us • Bookclubs as an opportunity to highlight issues in the world • For greater discussions and understanding of the world around us • Opportunity to learn and reflect • Early steps into critical reading for children's bookclub Refugee crisis Homelessness Disability Gender roles in society Bereavement
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  11. 11. Results of Try a Bookclub • 4 of 12 Children joined regular bookclubs • Continuing engagement with participants • Effects on Junior bookclub • Reflection on role as facilitator
  12. 12. Summary • Promotion: • Always find ways to promote your bookclub to non users. I use the high interest in Summer Stars, a national programme to identify interested parties outside the bookclub regulars. • Beyond the book: • Always seek out new ways to discuss the book. Activities and outside engagement can bring new voices to the chat. • Know your audience: • Work with your age groups abilities also their individual needs. Bookclubs should not feel like examining a leaving cert text. • Books are a window into the world: • Want to create an inclusive culture in your library? Start with a small bookclub group, give them books that challenge what is inclusive in real life and in the worlds of the books they read and see how it changes their perception of the world around them. @ciahog on Twitter