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Take two to four kids, give them a basket of books that go together in some way, and then provide time for them to read, think, and talk together about their ideas, their questions, their wonderings. That's the simple recipe for a reading club, and Kathy Collins demonstrates the powerful results in her new book, Reading for Real. She writes, The reading clubs I describe are a formal structure providing students with time to read and talk about books with a high level of engagement, purpose, and joy.
Just as adults join clubs to share and talk about common interests, reading clubs allow kids to immerse themselves in topics and ideas they care about -- whether it's turtles, fairy tales, a beloved author, a favorite new series, or the desire to get better at reading aloud to a baby brother or sister. While they are reading and talking about their interests and passions, students in reading clubs are also orchestrating all of the reading skills and strategies they've learned and applying them in real-life ways.
The book offers step-by-step support for implementing these classroom reading clubs, including:specific suggestions for planning cycles of reading clubs;detailed charts with a variety of teaching ideas that can be implemented immediately;ideas for mini-lessons and examples of reading conferences to support students as they learn strategies and hone their reading and discussion skills;suggestions for differentiating instruction; support for launching and fostering reading partnerships across the year;appendixes with examples of note-taking sheets and sample planning guides for several kinds of reading clubs.
While Kathy presents ideas for implementing reading clubs during reading workshop in a balanced literacy framework, the information she provides will be helpful for any teacher who wants to foster the joy of reading by offering students support and opportunities to read for authentic purposes and to have conversations about topics that interest and engage them. After all, we don't just want kids to learn to read, we want them to love to read.