April was National School Library Month, with the theme of Everyone Belongs @ Your School Library. To welcome "everyone" (of course just the extended school community, with safety and privacy concerns), I hosted Family Book Clubs for each age level.
Early Childhood students (3-6 years old) read The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. Families read this book at home, and I sent home two emails of talking points, articles of interest, and discussion questions.
Parents and children were invited to share their answers at the book club meeting. We also made a craft - a Beekle crown out of metallic gold paper! I created bookmarks of other books written and/or illustrated by Santat. This age group is the largest population in our school, so having a more informal book club meeting with a few questions/talking points, a craft, and of course snacks(!) was perfect.
Lower Elementary students (1st-3rd grade) read The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl. Just like for the younger students, families read the book at home. For this age group I wanted to pick a book that was more challenging than a picture book, but wasn't so long it seemed daunting. I also wanted the book to be one that parents and children could read together, or independently. I sent emails out with talking points and discussion questions.
There are fewer students in these grades than in Early Childhood, so their questions asked more of the students - more imagination, more room to talk and draw. I knew our club time would be a little more structured and that they would be able to explain themselves more... let's say concisely than the younger ones.
We had snacks at the meeting, of course - books and snacks just go hand-in-hand! We also made a craft - an Enormous Crocodile magnet clip!
Upper Elementary students (4th-6th grade) read Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. This is the smallest group of students in our school, and of course the oldest. I sent out two emails (in code), challenging them to code secret messages and create their own codes. I was blown away by this group! I had reports from parents and teachers that all they were doing at home and on the playground were creating codes! We had so much fun at our book club meeting, cracking either others' codes and answering each others' secret questions. I also had a scavenger hunt based on trivia questions from the book. I hid clues around the library and let them loose with the first clue, coded of course. The hunt branched off from there, and the winner got a hardback copy of the second book in the series, The Unbreakable Code!
I had so much fun planning these book clubs and sharing the stories with students and their families. I'm already planning another set of book clubs for the fall, with the hopes of holding them every fall and spring, instead of just during School Library Month!