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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Mother-daughter book clubs

March 24, 2010

I like the concept of mother–daughter book clubs, and I think my girls would like it, but I'm barely holding on to my own book club right now! The thought of another one scares me off. But as my older daughter inches toward puberty, I'm starting to believe that this might be the perfect time to form one. We've got some things to talk about! Maybe doing it with friends nearby would make it easier.

I have two close friends who are each in a book club with their 4th and 6th grade daughters. I've heard similar things from both Moms. Their book clubs struggle with structure — too much and too little. Too much structure made the club feel like school. One well-intentioned Mom made a board game to foster discussion but the girls found it too stifling. Meetings with too little structure translated to little discussion about the book.

There's also the concept of trust that they both said was an integral element, and trust is not something that just happens. Rather, it evolves over time and through discussions. It's hard enough to talk about tough subjects like cliques and mean girls, but when your Mom is around, is it harder? Or easier?

Activities seem like a good way to spark discussion. One friend's club read Caddie Woodlawn and had their discussion after hiking into the woods for a picnic. Another friend's club read Chasing Vermeer and the book club spent the meeting working with pentominoes. I like both those ideas. The Mother Daughter Book Club site has booklists by age that are helpful, and a Club Connections section where clubs can become pen pals with other clubs reading the same book.

Are you in a book club with your son or daughter?


Have you read Deconstructing Penguins? It has some great ideas. I love this book, but haven't begun a parent/child bookclub as of yet. I would like to!

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"Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them." —

Arnold Lobel