Managing Book Clubs as the Librarian



Don’t we all want our students to fall in love with books?
Last year I started having book clubs with some 5th and 6th
graders to see if it would make a difference. Well, it did! Not only have they
enjoyed reading books they would have never read on their own, but they’ve also convinced classmates and friends to read them as well. It’s funny how a student
can “sell” a book a lot better than a teacher can.
I’m the librarian, so the hardest part of starting book
clubs was the scheduling. I had to plan with the classroom teacher to determine
a good time the students could leave class and meet with me in the library for
about 20 minutes.
All classes at our school are required to have some quiet
reading time. So… works out really well if I don’t have a scheduled library
class during that same time. The book club kids just come to see me during
their quiet reading time.
The best part of my book clubs is that there are no worksheets or tests. Just thoughtful
discussions about the book.

Two teachers told me they would
love to help out with book clubs. Wow!!! They gave up some of their planning time
to meet with book clubs! For example, our music teacher has a couple of
free periods so she has book clubs during those times.
I typically divide a chapter book
into 4 sections. Of course, it depends on the length and difficulty of the book,
we’ll do 3 weeks for a shorter chapter book. I give each book club member a
bookmark to write page numbers and dates.  I like to give them several post-it notes each week and tell them to
write down any thoughts or questions to share with the group the next time we
Some great books we’ve read so far are One For the Murphys and Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mallaly Hunt, A Long Walk to Water by Linda
Sue Park, Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, and Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. I definitely recommend these for 5th and 6th grade. 
My favorite book has been  A Night Divided by
Jennifer A. Nielsen. This is a story about a twelve-year-old girl who finds her
family divided on the night of August 13, 1961, when the Berlin Wall goes up.
Her father and brother are in the west, while the rest of the family is still
in the east. I’ve used this book with 5th and 6th grade.  It opens up so
much discussion about freedom, family, courage, and trust. I created some question/discussion cards for this book. 
I am always looking for great new books for my 5th and 6th-grade book clubs. Any suggestions would be appreciated.