I teach reading to a diverse group of 7th graders in a small Georgia community. My 7th graders are very passionate, social and bring a lot of energy to the classroom! They are your typical 7th graders that have strong opinions and enjoy getting together to talk about everything!
I want to channel their energy into meaningful discussions about books of significance.
As students dive into historical fiction novels that tackle topics such as World War II, The Holocaust, The Great Depression, and The Civil Rights Movement, I want to give them the opportunity to read in a safe environment in which they can react to their stories and discuss them while feeling supported and encouraged. We will do this through book clubs.
Our school does not have enough copies of books to adequately sustain book clubs both inside and outside the classroom. There simply isn’t enough time in the class to provide effective reading instruction, ample reading time and true group discussion. Students need copies to take home. They need to have books in hand at school and at home. They need to come to class with fresh ideas and ready to share and discuss with their book club members.
By providing students a wider variety of books to choose from and the opportunity to take books home, we give them the chance to personally connect with a book at home as well as with their peers while in the classroom.
Emotional reactions to books can be strong. Students need to be able to process what they are reading on a personal level before they are able to discuss it with their peers. Our current book selection does not give us enough titles to allow the students to make those meaningful connections.
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