STRATFORD SCHOOL

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Sponsored Content l August 16, 2020

How to Pick the Right Read and Start a Kids Virtual Book Club

By Keira Pride, Head Librarian, Stratford School

Sharing excitement and enjoyment over books can be a fantastic way to encourage a passion for reading! As children crave contact with their friends, virtual book clubs provide an excellent platform to engage in book discussions, offer plenty of opportunities to express creativity, promote reading for pleasure, and allow time for some much needed social interaction!

Starting a virtual book club can be done with just a few easy steps. All you need is a small group of children (perhaps start with your child’s closest friends), an online conferencing platform (such as Zoom), and access to the same book for all involved (check out books online at your local library, or Amazon, for example) thus giving children the chance to discover what types of books interest them most.  When children discover a genre that excites them, they are more inclined to spend time in those literary worlds as they uncover new adventures through reading.

Starting your own virtual book club can be done in just a few easy steps.
Choose a book! Choose a book that is age appropriate and fun, and that your club members agree upon. Many books are available online via eLibraries, or check your local library and explore its collection.
Invite friends to join the reading adventure! The ages of the children should be within a couple of years, and around a similar reading level.
Schedule club meetings! Once you have your group identified and a book selected, come up with a time to meet online in Zoom or Google. Plan to meet once a week for approximately four to six weeks (or longer depending on the number of chapters in the book).
Read. Discuss. Repeat each week!
At the end of the story, choose another book and keep your book club going!

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Keep virtual book club members engaged!
A successful virtual book club has active members. Here are a few ways to keep your club members actively engaged and reading during the month.
• Give each club member a chance to ask questions and be a meeting host.
• Take advantage of online resources like reading guides, questions, and discussion helpers.
• Make it fun by including games such as Roll & Retell (available on Pinterest).
• Add an art component. For example, ask club members to create a picture featuring a scene or character, or make a prop, just as they imagine being described in the story.

A virtual book club for kids can be a good time for parents to connect too, as they share the responsibilities and get their children involved.

Here’s our go to list of books to get your book club started:
Grades Kinder to Second:
I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic - Book one in a series by Lauren Tarshish Illustrated by Scott Dawson
This historical fiction series transports the reader into a first person narrative account of a survivor of a terrifying event. While captivated by the account, the reader is also learning the history and often led to research more! The “I Survived” series covers a wide range of topics and time periods like Hurricane Katrina, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the San Francisco earthquake, 9/11, and the Battle of Gettysburg. Even reluctant readers will like the suspenseful action that provides edge-of-your-seat moments.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Because of Winn-Dixie is a Newbery Honor book about the summer Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket, and comes out with a rescue dog. Every character is memorable with a story to tell, and somehow all these stories meld together into a satisfying ending with an uplifting message. This book deals with such important themes: grief, hope, acceptance, loss, and friendship. There are lessons about how one should try not to judge by appearances, the power of love, and friendship.

Grades 3-5
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
The Harry Potter books are perhaps some of the most re-read books in history. Readers often find new insight into the story each time it is read. Discussions could include themes such as social justice, loyalty, courage, family or friendship. The book club could end with a synchronized virtual viewing of the movie.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder is written in various viewpoints to allow the reader to know what each character is thinking. It is a story about August Pullman who was born with a facial difference that, up until the start of the book, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Wonder has a way of touching each reading differently.

Grades 6-8
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
The first installment in a three book series, this story is a modern Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The characters are 12 year old students who are locked in a library, and they must use clues to escape and to try to win the grand prize. With numerous references to classic works of literature, this book provides many areas of discussion. When the club ends, watch the Netflix movie together virtually!

Eragon, Book one of The Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini
This fantasy series was written by the author when he was 15 years old. The story is a sweeping epic in which the forces of good fight against evil. This is a great book to read before The Lord of the Rings series. A mysterious blue stone appears out of nowhere, and Eragon wonders if it was sent by accident or is he meant to have it? When a dragon, Saphira, hatches from it, the beast and boy connect and face danger together.

Hopefully this will inspire you to get your virtual book club started today! Remember, you can customize it as you go along, from one book to the next and good luck on this reading adventure! And to find out more about Stratford School, please visit us online at www.stratfordschools.com.