for Language Arts
Book Club Wisdom
I've come at book clubs in a variety of ways and for what it is worth here is the wisdom that now guides me.
The Gradual Release of Responsibility holds true here.
The first club is organized by me. I do give choice, but only between 3 novels and the groups are organized based on instructional reading levels the first time, so I assign the members. Usually this ensures a better chance for success in the first go round.
I use "jobs" the first time because it gives me a chance to model the kind of thinking and discussion I want to eventually see students lead on their own.
I look for lots of ways to observe. The most obvious is a schedule that ensures I'll be sitting with each group once that week. When I realize a group "gets it" I'll do a fishbowl meeting, in which the rest of the class sits around their club and listens to a discussion.
I tape record a book talk of a group and listen later as I meet with the group in the classroom. These often are the best discussions! I start tape recording lots of groups just to raise the level of interest in getting in there and talking.
Each time we do a new book club
it becomes more of the students' responsbility. By the end of
the year they are forming books clubs, no matter their reading
level, based on their own reasons; by now they have a full understanding
of what it requires and so choose with learned wisdom.