GES Children's Book Club
CAROL THARPE, GES 4-5 Principal:
I was trying to think of a great idea for our students to teach them about just the pure joy of reading a book in its entirety. I pitched the idea to Pam Briscoe, our ELA specialist here at Grenada Elementary 4 & 5, and she just took it and ran with it.
PAM BRISOCE, GES 4-5 ELA Specialist:
We really wanted to send the message to our students how important reading is, but also to our community. So we put together a little survey, handed it out to the teachers and parents at open house, and found out very quickly that there was an interest, for sure.
We were just really hoping for a good start with fifteen to twenty kids, and we were just blown away. We had at least 70 kids sign up for book club and really kept … kept that many as we were going throughout the year.
The kids mentioned that they wanted to read something that was adventurous, something that was suspenseful, and it didn't take us long to find The City of Ember. We started meeting in November with our students and began teaching them how to speak collaboratively in their groups. Each student -- we had about five students in a group — had different roles and responsibilities. Responsibilities ranged from being the diction detective looking for vocabulary, the bridge builder looking for text connections ... connections to the real world. They did all of their reading outside of school and just came to discussion groups and had really great discussions with one another.
Offering this book club gives us that opportunity to dive deep into the text and have longer, richer book club discussions with our students that we don't always have time to do during the regular school day. We had several events throughout book club where we brought the community in, local authors. We had Mississippi Conservationist of the Year Robin Whitfield come in and talk about being an activist in your community and made connections to the text we were reading. We also had the mayor come in and speak to our students about how important it was to play a role in your community but also to be a leader with integrity.
To culminate the club we had a Skype with the author, Jeanne DuPrau herself, and it was amazing. The students interacted with her, asked wonderful questions about the book, about the movie adaptation of the book, and just really enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with a New York Times bestselling author. The parents came out, enjoyed refreshments with us and also had a chance to share with the administrator and the superintendent how much they feel that the book club has really helped their children grow as readers ... and love to read, which was our goal, and I feel like we succeeded with that.
NANCY OSWALT, Book Club Parent:
Well, Noah is my ten year old son. He's not really ever been much of a reader ... until
now. And this book has really meant a lot to him. It's encouraged him to get into other books, you know, it's brought them to life in a more real way, I guess.
KENDRA OBANNON, Book Club Parent:
He really liked the book. I think he enjoyed coming after school, being part of something, being part of a different group, and being able to express himself. After this, he's more ... way more excited about reading. He's ready for the next book.
We have plans to continue the book club, maybe introduce more literature. We've had a lot of interest from students who cannot wait to join book club ... kids who are reluctant readers, anxious. Anxious to be a part of something that you don't typically see in the regular classroom.
You never wanted to stop reading it after you got through chapter one. It was just amazing.
It kind of made me a reader.