Host a summer book club this year with your children and enjoy watching them fall in love with reading, sharing and dissecting books together, with friends.
I have hosted many book clubs for my girls and wanted to share what I've done to inspire you to give it a try if you haven't already.
My oldest wasn't much of a reader and when she was fourteen I wanted to inspire her to love books. Hosting a book club with all of her friends got her excited and created a reading monster by the time the first book club discussion was over. She went from never wanting to read from never looking up from a book! She now enjoys and loves reading very much.
We loved hosting a teen book club year-after-year, together. I look back on it fondly and was such a bonding time for her and I.
My next oldest daughter loved books and friends, and loved the whole idea of a book club. She was younger, around ten, when we hosted her first book clubs and was just as much fun.
We'd plan all the details together, the food we wanted to prepare (what's a book discussion without good eats?), the books we wanted to read and share with the group, and the friends we wanted to invite.
Here is our detailed look at hosting and planning a book club for teens and girls:
First figure out the age group you'll be inviting
Discuss with your daughter the books she'd like to see read at the book club. She then can contribute her ideas for the book reads for the year.
How often do you want to meet? For my teen and girl book club, we liked once a month as they usually picked bigger books and this allows them to be able to finish the book for discussion. Since we homeschool, during the day on the best date for most, from 11-2 was perfect. It allowed time for everyone to settle in, discuss our book in great detail, eat, and just enjoy each others company.
**If hosting a summer book club, this works best for younger girls as they can read smaller books and meet twice a month. This gives them June, July, and August to get in some fun reads.**
Discuss the kinds of foods and drinks you'd love to serve to your book club friends. Do want everyone to contribute? Do you want to serve it all yourself? Sometimes we would serve foods that would correlate with the book we were reading, or you can just do desserts and tea. There is no wrong foods to share so have fun dreaming up the foods you'd love to serve while discussing over book reads. I always loved this part as well as my daughters, we would spend the morning of the book club, cleaning up the house and creating up our delicious foods to serve to our friends. These recipes are linked to my food blog and were some of our favorites at our house to serve:
Cookie Dough Dip
Award Winning Chocolate Chip Cookies
Artichoke and Spinach Dip
The Best Chili
Tomato Basil Focaccia
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars
Homemade lemonade with lime
Homemade Hot Cocoa
Get your friend list going. Have fun with your daughter discussing all of her friends she'd like to invite. For teens, I've done girls and boys and just girls, it's up to you and your daughter. Both were great.
If reading any books that are made into a movie, make sure you plan the book club dates that will be a movie discussion. Read your book club, book, and then instead of regular discussion, see the movie at the theater together or dvd at home. This was always fun to do and the kids looked forward to it every time.
Discussion questions are a must to get the ball rolling on getting everyone's input on the book read. Make sure you as the mother, read the book, and I always was the first to put together the discussion questions for the teen group and then had each girl, take turns bringing discussion questions. For the younger girls, I made sure I read their book as well, sometimes my daughter and I would read it together, and I had each girl bring discussion questions each time and I always had some if the girls forgot.
Some sample discussion questions might include:
- How did Sarah's character in the book relate to you?
- Why did Sarah's father want to keep a set of books by his stove?
You see the idea...all discussions are worth discussing and there aren't any wrong ways to write them. You being there helps aid and move it along or help inspire the shy ones to share their thoughts.
Plan any crafts you might want to make in the year. This is perfect for a smaller age group and I did this with my 9-11 yr. olds. On their first day for book club, we made book bags. I had each girl contribute a couple dollars and I had all the supplies ready on their first day. We did some iron-on decals on a simple muslim tote I found at a hobby store and they stuck cute pin buttons on the bags and used fabric markers for everyone to decorate and sign on each other's bags. They used these to tote their book and discussion questions to each book club meeting. They loved creating these bags! After that we discussed and planned our book club itinerary for the year over great fun food. A very fun first book club day!
Once you get all the details of your book club down in your Planner, you're ready to get your flyer ready to send out to friends.
Create a flyer in Word, with fun clipart and announce your book club invite at the top, with date and time for the first initial meeting. Announce you will send out the itinerary for the year via email once all the girls discuss their books for the year and best meeting times. Also state that the girls should come with a list of their favorite books they'd like to see read in the year.
Just send the attachment when emailing all of your daughter's friends and if younger children, their mothers.
Once all girls arrive, use this time to discuss everyone's ideas for the year. I usually host my book clubs, from August through May. That is eight books that need to be voted on for reading. I write down all the ideas they throw out at me, we all vote and also vote on which month we should read them. For example: I like to encourage Christmas books over Christmas time, and love to do a gift exchange, too, so keep this in mind when discussing book ideas if you want this to be an option.
Tip: For any books that you might be unsure of with their content, I research those books to make sure the content is suitable so all mothers feel comfortable their child's reading books for the year. Any changes to the book reads can be done simply by using a back-up book that was mentioned and emailing the group.
Each child/teen goes home knowing what their first book is to read for discussion and then you can send out the itinerary to the teens or the mothers, if for the girls, always keeping a hard copy for yourself. This way everyone is planned and knows what to expect and has time to read their book for each book club meeting. They also will know if they have a turn in bringing food or drink to the meetings.
Have fun! Book clubs are always full of laughter, we've cried together over a very moving Christmas book, and always had fun. This is a time to just enjoy each other, enjoy good book reads, and enjoy the whole process of book discussion. Hosting book clubs are very dear and near to my heart as it was a special time for my daughters and I have so many wonderful memories, planning, reading together, laughing together, over many wonderful books and close friends.
I highly recommend hosting a book club... it creates such a love for books and memories.