Archive for the ‘How to’ Category

How to Have a Great Book Group: Tips for a Book Club You’ll Love

Monday, August 9th, 2021

It’s never just a game when you’re winning.

If you are thinking of starting up a book group in your area, then welcome to the club! The popularity of book groups has grown massively in recent years. Despite the explosion of online and social media, books remain as popular and beloved as always. In fact, online media can help to promote books…

A book club is a great way to connect with other people and share a love of books – and it’s free – or at least, cheap! It’s also really easy to set up. So if you want to start a local book club/group, these tips are for you. They’re by no means the be all and end all, but they’re born of experience.

Top Three Tips for Starting a Book Club/Group

  1. Throw it open to everyone – You can do this by putting up posters around where you live or perhaps you can get a free advert in the local magazine. Ask for initial interest, and give your phone number and those of any friends setting the club up with you. All you need is a phone call or two back, and you’re ready to roll. By all means, also spread the news of the club by word of mouth, but open advertising will make sure it remains a club – not a clique.
  2. Make sure everyone is included – Some book groups like to set discussion questions, others simply listen to each other’s views on the book and the discussion flows from that. Whichever you choose, it is a good idea to make sure that everybody gets the chance to speak at some point. Some people are shy and won’t speak until they’re asked to. Going round the circle letting everyone speak in turn is one good way to include everybody.
  3. Choose books to review that are new to the whole group – If someone nominates a childhood favourite as a set discussion book, it can potentially make the discussion afterwards a bit awkward. Particularly if someone else thought it was terrible.

Four More Tips for a Great Book Club

  1. Hold it at member’s houses in rotation – It’s cheaper and comfier and you get to see the insides of each other’s houses – and nose people’s book collections! Plus the hostess or host gets the chance to provide drinks and snacks for the group.
  2. Do other things besides discussing the set book – Bring and talk about old favourites and new discoveries, swap books, quote from blogs and share favourite poems. This way it won’t be a big deal if someone didn’t get to read or finish the main book.
  3. Cap the numbers – Once the group gets to a reasonable size, you’ll have to stop letting new members join. It’s an obvious point, but many more than about 10 or 12 and there won’t be time for a full discussion. Plus you won’t all fit in the living room.
  4. Go online – A book group is really easy to set up on Facebook and it helps the group to organise and communicate. You can also continue discussions online – and invite as many extra members as you like.

A Few Further Hints

  1. Read book reviews online or browse bookshops and read their in-house reviews to help choose a book that will go down well. But don’t worry if you don’t think you’ll like the chosen book. Differences of opinion make for better discussions.
  2. Books cost money. But the internet has made ordering books cheaply much easier. Some libraries lend out sets of books for clubs, but the choice is likely to be more limited. A book club is a journey. Hopefully, these tips will help steer it towards an enjoyable and rewarding book sharing experience.

More: Tips for Book Club Organizers: How to Make a Book Group Run More Smoothly

Teach Science, Literature and Art: Read Aloud Science Books and Creative Expression Equal Classroom Fun

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Although elementary science textbooks are packed with content and interesting material for children, most teachers of young children have found that science is best taught with active rather than passive lessons. One creative way to plan such lessons is by inviting outstanding science books into your classroom and using them as a springboard in planning motivational, hands-on art activities that are related to the reading selections.

There are so many elementary science books! How do I find the best ones?

Since 1973, in a joint effort by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Children’s Book Council (CBS), a yearly list has been published of books selected as outstanding children’s science trade books. Books are coded according to science areas and instructional levels, making it a user-friendly teacher resource.

Science Lesson Components

Read Aloud Book

  • Select an animal-themed book at the listening level of your students. This level will usually be a bit higher than the average silent reading level of the class.
  • The reading should be done by the teacher so all students may participate in active listening and learning.
  • Let the length of the book determine how long the lessons extend. Shorter books may generate one lesson, while longer ones may extend longer.
  • Use the same teacher read-aloud skills as used with other teaching books-good eye contact, expressive reading, preplanned oral questioning, and classroom discussion of interesting facts.

Science Fact Map

On a chart or classroom board, stop and list facts learning about the animal as the book is being read. A combination of the fact map and oral discussion will reinforce learning for both visual and auditory learners.

Picture or Diagram Display

If possible, include in each lesson an enlarged picture of the animal being studied. Provide description cards that can be attached by students to reinforce listening for hands-on or kinesthetic learners in your classroom.

Hands-on Art Activity

When the read-aloud is completed, students should then participate in a creative art activity that will enable them to express some aspect of what they have learned. This may be an activity designed for either small groups or individual students.

Think creatively when planning and allow children the time and materials to create their own product from their learning experience. Encourage them to stretch their creative muscles!

Check it: Tips for Book Club Organizers: How to Make a Book Group Run More Smoothly

Sample Books and Art Ideas

This book has wonderful color photographs of frogs from all over the world. Make color copies of these frogs and create a teaching collage as the book is read that students might then refer to when creating their own frogs.

The perfect materials for this activity are flat river rocks, but if not available, paper bowls turned upside down may be substituted. Students may use crayons, paint, markers, construction paper and stickers to create their own frogs. Have each student write a sentence describing the frog and share orally in class.

Sponges, Jellyfish, and Other Simple Animals. 2006. Steve Parker. Compass Point Books, 44pp.

Have children work in small groups to create shoebox habitats for the creatures they have learned about. Paint and construction paper may be used for the habitat background, then synthetic sponges, wet spaghetti (for jellyfish tentacles), and other found objects may be used in creating the animals. Creative writing may also be an extension activity, perhaps using a story starter such as “If I lived in the ocean I would…”

Our job is improving the quality of life, not just delaying death.

Tips for Book Club Organizers: How to Make a Book Group Run More Smoothly

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

When I was a kid, a book I read advised young artists to be themselves. That decided it for me. I was a corny kind of guy, so I went in for corn. Walt Disney

A book club organizer has a lot on her plate but with a little bit of homework, imagination and perseverance she can minimize the stress level. Here are some tips that cover some basic organizer duties. These tasks can be shared with other group members on a rotating basis but the needs of the club remain the same.

Obtaining Books

Making sure everyone in the group gets a copy of the book can be a challenge. Advance planning is key and there are many resources available in major cities. In Toronto, for example, the public library system offers special book club sets. Designated libraries set aside up to fifteen copies of books for book club members four weeks in advance. Members can check the books out for six weeks but cannot renew them. The libraries offer a wide selection of titles.

One downside though is that your group is limited to what is available on the library book list. Despite this limitation, the book club sets are an excellent option especially if you want to minimize the financial cost for the members of your group.

Used book stores are the next best source for your book club. The books are in excellent condition and there are usually several copies available. The books are often fifty percent less than the big chain book stores. The staff at the used book stores also tend to be more knowledgeable than workers at the big chain book stores, especially at BMV at 2289 Yonge Street, north of Eglinton. Not only is the store always well stocked and maintained, without the use of a computer, they instantly know the title and author you are looking for.

Choosing a Venue

An organizer should be attuned to where and how the majority of book club members want to meet.

The following criteria should be considered:

  • cost
  • location
  • noise level
  • food variety

The cost of food and drinks is often paramount in the minds of members. Try to find a medium-range cafe or restaurant that has reasonable prices from $3-$20. The eateries should provide a decent selection of hot and cold drinks, appetizers, vegetarian items and simple fare. The noise level should be very low. Make sure that the meeting place is accessible via public transportation and offers affordable or free parking. Some club members like to host a gathering at their place and that is always a great option.

A well-organized book group can greatly maximize the experience for its members. An organizer can either make or break the book club experience. By providing easy access to books and choosing venues that members enjoy, an organizer can be successful.

Check it: Types of Allegorical Novels: Spiritual Journey, Human Experience, Political and Social Satire