NEED A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
READ WITH YOUR PARENT AND GET CLOSER!
If you miss having your parent or guardian read to you, start a parent/child book club. You can also get closer to your parent, expand your conversations, and gain new insight about your parent’s life. Literacy skills, language skills, exposure to new ideas…the benefits of participating in a book club go on and on. The Castro Valley Library is beginning a Parent/Child Book Club in January 2011. Please contact the library for more information. Check with your local library to see if they are interested in hosting a parent/child book club. If not, start your own. Here are some tips from Scholastic.com:
- Compose the group: Invite kids in your grade or close to their age. Look for members with similar interests and abilities — but not too similar, to keep the discussions interesting! How many? Aim for a group of 8 and 12 (including adults and children). If some are unable to attend, there will still be enough to have a lively discussion.
- Appoint an organizer to keep the schedule, send out reminders, and be available to answer questions. If you are young, have a parent act as the organizer; but older kids should be able to handle this responsibility themselves.
- Set a schedule: Meeting monthly or even bi-monthly gives everyone time to read the selection without too much time pressure. Some groups meet only during the school year; others meet only in the summer. Find what works best for yours.
- Find a place: As a group, decide if you would rather meet at participants’ homes or at a public spot, such as a bookstore, library, or coffee shop.
- Select the books: Let the host of the first meeting choose the first book, then allow the book choice to be decided by the kids, not the parents. Some groups select books months ahead of time; others choose one or two in advance so they can see what is new or interesting.
- Prompt discussion: Come prepared with at least one topic for discussion or question to ask the group. What happens when someone doesn’t finish the book? Find out why, and don’t exclude her from the conversation.
- Focus on the yourselves: Parents are there to facilitate discussion, but mostly to listen. You take the lead — your parent will be amazed at what they’ll learn.
- Plan an activity to complement the book. You might plant seeds after reading a book about nature or try your hand at poetry after reading Robert Frost. My local librarian hosted a very successful reading group for the Angelina Ballerina books, accompanied by a tea party.
- Set up a snack: Agree in advance: Will the host provide all the edibles, or will the responsibility be shared? Are there any foods that are off limits due to allergies or other sensitivities?
- Keep it simple: Don’t plan elaborate activities, themes, or meals, and make sure the books you choose are within the capabilities of the group. Thirty minutes to an hour for discussion and another half hour or so for any activity or snack afterwards is enough.
- Stay flexible: Your group will naturally evolve as you grow and change. You may meet more or less frequently or choose different books to explore. What matters most: Keep the pages turning and the conversation flowing!
For more tips, check out PBS Parents @ http://www.pbs.org/parents/readinglanguage/articles/bookclubs/main.html
Retrieved and paraphrased December 22, 2010 from, http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=10218
Recommended Books for a Parent/Child Book Club Ages 9-12
The Magician’s Elephant
By Kate DiCamillo; illustrated by Yoko Tanaka
Ten-year-old Peter meets a fortune teller in the market, and she tells him his sister, who is presumed dead, is in fact alive. He then begins a series of adventures as he desperately tries to find her. Candlewick, 2009. ISBN: 9780763644109
When You Reach Me
By Rebecca Stead, 2010 John Newbery Medal winner
A 12-year-old girl in New York tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.
Wendy Lamb, 2009. ISBN: 9780385737425
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin, 2010 John Newbery Medal honoree
Chinese folklore and original storytelling combine with beautiful illustrations in this magical tale of a girl, a dragon and a quest.
Little, Brown, 2009. ISBN: 9780316114271
Return to Sender
By Julia Alvarez
When his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their farm, 11-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter and discovers they may not be in the country legally.
Knopf, 2009. ISBN: 9780375858383
Northward to the Moon
By Polly Horvath
Jane and the rest of the family set off on a car trip after her stepfather loses his job, ending up in Nevada after being given a bag full of possibly stolen money. (Some adult themes, 12+)
Schwartz & Wade, 2010. ISBN: 9780375861109