Ahhh, summer vacation is here and my good friend and neighbor suggested something brilliantly simple (which are my favorite kind of brilliant ideas). She is reading every morning during summer break with her daughter for 30 minutes. They each read what they like but they do it together. She calls it a reading club. She then invited my two daughters and me to join them periodically to briefly talk about what they are reading, report on if they are enjoying it and why. Then we just read together. Silently, but together.
This can help to accomplishes so many reading goals I can’t even name them all, but let me just mention two biggies.
First of all it gets kids to realize that reading can be a social activity. For many kids it puts an extra incentive to read because they look forward to discussing what they are reading with friends. Hmmm, this sounds remarkably how I came to be a reader myself in my mid twenties. Can you say ‘book club’? That is what drew me to reading. It was not sitting at a desk in a classroom filling out answer sheets about what I just read. That much I know is true.
The Second goal this little summer book club accomplishes is that it gets kids to begin thinking critically about what they read. I happen to know that this is a strand of the new Common Core Reading Standards that the majority of states in our nation are being asked to teach to. This particular strand begins in Kindergarten and goes up through High School. In a nutshell, the standard asks that students to “compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the name of the book and state an opinion or preference about the book.” Again, they begin this in kindergarten!