Book clubs in first grade?!
It may seem like a stretch, but the Spring is such a great time to get your students ready and used to reading, thinking about, and discussing books with their peers instead of me, the teacher!
When done right, it can be such a fun learning experience for both the students and the teacher. I find that I learn SO much about my students when I sit back and observe their conversations and arguments about a topic without intervening. I can see the growth socially as well as academically that my students make in a year and I can see what my students still need to work on.
I needed a lot of guidance when starting my book clubs with my little learners, so I created a unit to share some of the resources and tricks that worked in my room!
After a week or two of running book clubs in my room, it was something that my students loved and really looked forward to. I didn't change up my reading block, but instead just carved out 10-15 minutes of book club time towards the end!
The biggest thing we needed guidance with in 1st grade, was "what do we talk about?" It was wildly unrealistic of me to have my students - even my higher ones - just get in a group and chat about their books!
And yes... I learned that the hard way... I was way too optimistic ;)
In order to solve that problem, I made our book club rings. These cards have all sorts of discussion points and questions to help my students review what they've learned throughout the year and KEEP TALKING while in their groups!
Another thing I realized was that my students weren't always prepared when they would get to their book club group. To help that situation, I created our independent reading bookmarks. I showed students how to use them to get their brains activated and ready before they went to their groups.
Once my students did get the hang of our book clubs, I would switch it up every once in a while and run book clubs more like literature circles where everyone has their own job and added responsibility. I did this with these fun little job cards:
Students would read their books and prepare their thoughts before they would meet - I also created half page recording sheets for students to complete as an added step when I saw fit.
Naturally my "high-flyers" tend to loooooove book clubs since they are reading independently very well and they like to showcase their skills. I thought a fun extension for them would be to have their own book club binders!
This was something extra that they could grab every time they got a new book and students could choose between a bunch of different recording sheets to add to their binder showcasing what they had learned. It is a fun way to track their work and all the books they have read together!
Also included in this unit are some anchor charts, lesson ideas, a teacher evaluation sheet, and more tips and tricks that have worked in my room!
To see if you could use this book club unit in your room, click on the image below and download the preview!