Instilling the love of reading in my kids has always been very important to me. I grew up devouring books since I was a young girl. When Orin started to read, he always struggled with it. Since it was so hard for him, he never wanted to read. After years of this, reading just finally clicked for him. His teacher told me he was reading on grade level. I was thrilled. Orin started reading all the time. He loved to read! My heart swelled. I was so excited to be able to connect with him on this topic. Then one day, I was helping him with his homework. I realized he didn’t comprehend what he was reading. So I decided to really work with him over his next track to find out what he was and wasn’t getting. Well, this kid was not thrilled to be doing “homework” over track out.
That’s when I came up with the idea to have our own Book Club.
I picked a book. He had been dying to read The Hunger Games by Susan Collins (especially since the movie had come out). I actually had already read this book a year earlier. Since I was familiar with it, I thought it was a good pick. A great place to find book suggestions is Goodreads.com.
I found a discussion guide. I literally googled: Hunger Games Book Discussion Guide. I glanced through a couple and found a great one in a few minutes. Most publishers will have a discussion guide on their website especially for children’s books.
I decided on how many pages we would read and how often we would meet to discuss the book. Since Orin was on track out for two and half weeks, I decided that reading one chapter a night and discussing each morning during the weekdays would allow us to get through the book by the end of track out. This was a couple of years ago and that book was a little above his reading level at the time. When you are deciding how much and how often to read, you need to base this on your child and what kind of time frame you want to finish the book.
I picked a meeting place/ time. I wanted to be sure that we didn’t get caught up in the craziness of track out and skip meeting each day. So every morning, we would discuss the book over breakfast. At the time, we didn’t have Lawson. This allowed us to take all the time we wanted. I have a feeling, this track out, we will be meeting during Lawson’s nap time. Whatever works for your family! Even if you can only meet once a week, so that your spouse can watch the other kids, it’s important to have a set time.
We discussed the book. Here is an overview of what each meeting looked like:
-Ask your child for a summary of what they read.
-Ask specific questions to elaborate on the summary. Example: Child: Katniss was in the woods. You: What did she see while she was in the woods? Who did she meet in the woods?
-Ask some of the questions from the discussion guide.
-Have your child read a part of the reading selection out loud. This is important for you to actually decipher their reading level. It also allows them to practice reading out loud.
-Be sure to ask your child questions like:
-How did the book make you feel?
-What was your favorite part of the section of the book?
-What did you think when the character (fill in the blank)?
These type of questions help your child really express their point of view, not just regurgitate what happened in the book. Critical thinking is an important skill for any subject.
Decide how long you should meet. Some kids have longer attention spans than others. Once you child starts to lose interest it’s time to wrap it up. This idea is to make reading and learning enjoyable.
Orin has enjoyed doing this so much, he asks every track out what book we are going to read together. I encourage you to go try this with your kids. I know you and your child will be nothing but blessed by it.