As a long-time book club aficionado, imagine my delight when I was offered the chance to facilitate a book club for kids! The Early Readers Book Club is a weekly, hour-long program for kids K-3.
We started our first meeting with a discussion of rules and expectations. I made a sign highlighting the “rules of book club”:
The book club is an opportunity for kids to explore and experience books in a positive, creative space, and I really wanted to make sure that the book club wasn’t too reminiscent of school. Rather than sit around and talk about the themes of each book, the emphasis of the hour was on interactive crafts and activities.
For this week’s study of Bad Kitty Gets a Bath we made name tags, tackled a word search, finished a maze, and coloured our own masks. We talked about the book while we worked on the crafts, and I was sure to let the conversation naturally progress in the wonderfully random ways that only conversations with young children can.
A few things I discovered during this week’s session:
- Have more activities on hand than you think you will need – kids work at different speeds, particularly when you’re working with a mixed-age group. Having extra activities on hand helps keep kids entertained while they’re waiting for the rest of the group to wrap up.
- Have a variety of activities ready – The older children devoured the word search, while some of the younger children found it too difficult and grew frustrated. I quickly invented a drawing project to keep the younger children engaged while the older children completed the word search.
- Go with the flow – I originally planned a series of activities with each project being completely finished before the next one started. In reality, with kids from 6 to 9 years of age in the group I really had to let go. The kids worked at their own speeds depending on their age and their interests – some loved the maze, while others would have been happy just to spend the entire hour drawing. All of the activities tied into the book, so as long as the children were participating in some way, I considered that a success!
The kids even made me a name tag! Stripes and polka dots, those kids know me well already!