I have come across several kinds of book clubs:
- Those that have both men and women meeting on a regular basis to discuss books
- Some that meet in a book store
- Those that are led by a librarian from a school or a public library
- Still others that focus on a particular genre (Mystery book clubs or Philosophy book clubs, for instance) or a particular set of people (book clubs for mothers)
- Those that are virtually led by a celebrity (Oprah’s book club)
- Parent-child book clubs
In this post, I’d like to focus the spotlight on the last one in the list above.
In a parent-child book club, usually, the children are expected to choose a book for the month and pitch it to their peers and the parents present. Each month, both the parent and child read the book(s) selected for that month. When the meeting is held, the lead asks open-ended questions about the subject of the book and both parents and children gathered share their opinions with each other.
In my experience, a parent-child book club is a beautiful concept, and the best use of the time (an hour a week or month, or whatever the frequency may be) in the case of both the parent and the child involved.
Here are some positive aspects of such a book club, as I see them:
- If you’re the parent, you get to meet other like-minded parents who are invested in their children’s growth as a reader. Chances are you find that you share other common interests with them.
- If you’re the child in the equation, you get to meet other children who like reading and are not shy about making that fact public knowledge.
- You show your children by your actions that reading is an admirable quality.
- Affords less time for the child to waste on T.V and video games.
- Motivates the child to read a book with careful attention for comprehension.
- Teaches children to be open-minded to others’ opinions and responses.
- The children get a kick out of telling the parent, for a change, what to read. It is a wonderful way to boost their self-esteem by letting them know that you value their judgment.
- If you’re anything like me, you have one or two genres that you naturally gravitate towards, when you pick up a book to read. When you belong to a book club, you are at times forced to read some other genre – one that you may have never even thought to try – and you may surprise yourself by actually liking it.
- Your child will get to taste a lot of genres before he/she learns what she prefers and doesn’t like to read.
- It’s a solid way to tell your children that you care about them and their interests. As a building block to the parent-child relationship, it goes a long way.
- It’s a great means to instill tolerance in children, by exposing them to history and other cultures around the world.
- Children learn to express themselves coherently in public.
- We tend to forget that children have a public and a private persona just like adults. As a parent, we’re usually exposed to the private side of our children. Book clubs offer a great opportunity to parents to get a glimpse into how children carry themselves in public.
- It gives great confidence to children to be able to express their opinions and have adults pay undivided attention to them.
- Whoever said “out of the mouths of babes” was not kidding. You may be surprised at the depth of understanding for a subject that a child can pack into his/her answer. They have such fresh and unadulterated perspectives that you may end up learning more from them than the other way around!
- Nothing can beat this last point: as a parent, can there be a greater pleasure than to watch your child express an opinion that is diametrically opposite to that of the whole group gathered around her, and be able to hold her ground and justify her stance?
And these are only some of the plus points of a book club that involves a child; I could go on, but will stop here for now.
Note: If you’re a reader, writer, editor, literary agent or a good Samaritan at heart, you may want to visit: Do the Write Thing for Nashville*.
This site is auctioning off signed copies of books, critiques and more from authors, literary agents, editors and other professionals from the publishing industry, in an effort to raise money for the victims of floods (that resulted from the record amount of rainfall on May 1st and 2nd of 2010) in Nashville, Tennessee.
* Thanks, Rachel, for forwarding this link to me!