The following is an excerpt from pages 74-75 of A Guide to the Teachers
College Reading and Writing Project Classroom Libraries, Grades 6–8
by Lucy Calkins and Mary Ehrenworth
What is a book club?
Simply put, a book club is a group of readers, usually three or four, who read books roughly in sync with each other. Usually clubs read the same book, but sometimes clubs may read books by the same author, or read a series of books together that share a common genre—mystery, historical fiction, fantasy—or they may read a collection of disparate books with a common lens—thinking about interpretation, learning about shared social issues across the book.
I have come to love fantasy novels, particularly young adult fantasy. There’s no doubt that the Harry Potter series stirred this love. Who couldn’t adore a book that got millions of children to read? The teen fascination with Twilight and The Hunger Games did the same thing—literally millions of teens are reading and talking about these books. They join blogs, they dress up like the characters, they attend the film releases, they compare the books to the movies. Fantasy has been a force for good in literacy.
—Mary Ehrenworth, in Learning from the Elves: A Genre Study of the Complexities and Themes of Fantasy
Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series! This month we discuss cultivating literacy-rich classrooms.
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How can we couple the power of allowing children to talk about books with purposeful, deliberate instruction?
In her On Demand Digital Campus Course Teaching Reading in Small Groups, Jennifer Serravallo explains that a crucial piece of deciding what to teach is: research. By carefully observing students – listening to their conversation, noticing behaviors and noting their comprehension, teachers can gather personalized and specific information that will help support students’ work before and during book clubs.