I have little experience with book clubs. I've always wanted to be a part of one, but never really seemed to have an opportunity. The closest that I can even compare the experience to, which in fact it's not close at all, are the listservs via yahoo that I participated in many moons ago. I've tried to get book clubs going here in my real life, but don't know many readers who'd be committed to giving up one night a month to let lose and geek out with books. I have a book buddy (and this is even a first for me) and we've picked out a book to read together in a loose time span so we can chat whilst hanging out in our group. That's been fun. But still you can see, my experience is limited.
(Ed note: is that the correct slang spelling??)
As some of you might know, I've started a book club at the middle school I teach at. As even more of you might be aware of, I teach at a Title I school (which essentially means that 90% of the students are on free or reduced lunch) where only approximately 40% are on grade level or higher. It's a struggle to get them to read even though I'm perhaps the loudest advocate. Outside of my weekly DEAR time, I invited a handful of students recommended by teachers to participate in a book club. Invites went to all three grade levels, all three reading levels, and in addition, an open invitation was announced to the whole school.
I had nine students show up. Most were previous students of mine. I did three book talks and the kids voted on reading Taken (book review to come). It's a really neat book, in my opinion, and I'm pretty excited about it. Each kid was given a handout with book-clubbish questions to think about while reading the book. You know, like: What did you like the most/least; could you relate to any of the characters; were they believable; what passages really struck you and why; would you keep the ending; were you surprised by the ending; what would you like to ask the author.
But I have some fears. Even these kids that came to the group aren't really big readers. In fact, I know that four of the nine kids haven't started the book and our next meeting is the 11th.
Also, I have fears on how to run the group providing they all read the book. What if the kids don't talk? Or it turns more into a teacher-led quiz, which I SOOOOO don't want.
Ack! Damn fears.
Web Book Clubs
Now that I've admitted my lack of book club knowledge and participation, I'm also curious about web book clubs. Do you guys participate?
I see a lot of bloggers posting here and there claiming, "oh yeah, I'm reading this for my online book club..." and I immediately start researching again and again EVERY TIME I READ THIS STATEMENT. Heh. But I never sign up. I'm concerned that I won't be as disciplined. I like the idea of having a group of people to share their thoughts, but if it's not in person I think it might be too easy for me to skip out on it if I fall behind or don't really want to read the book. I'm trying to avoid this. I guess I kinda see a book club as an extension to my literature degree in college. I didn't enjoy all of the books I had to read, but man did I love the discussions.
Soooooo there goes my ramblings. Any thoughts? Are you a book clubber? Ease my insecurities about my school book club! Point me in the right direction to a web book club! :D