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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Adult book club inspires the young

January 19, 2011

What can an adult book discussion do for young children? More than I'd imagined.

A friend of mine copied me on an email she'd sent out for her first grade son with, of course, a note to the recipients' parents. This 7-year old wanted to share books with his friends much as his mother did with hers.

Rafe wrote that he wanted to "start a book club with you…It will be all kids' books, of course. We can go in order for who picks the book, or we could all decide together, or the moms (or dads) could make suggestions and we could all decide together."
He goes on to suggest a book (Charlie & The Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl because his class had read Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and watched the movie) as well as a time and place (his house where his mom will provide snacks).

Rafe added that "moms and dads are invited if they want to give suggestions about things to talk about."

Children more often than not do what adults do, not necessarily what adults say to do. My friend understands that and is providing her children with a model to build friendship, fun, and learning, around books.

Not only is Rafe inspired to read and talk about books, the book club (which won't meet until next month) has inspired another child to try to read a longer book. Whether he reads it with his parents or independently really doesn't matter as much as the fact that he's willing to become part of a community of readers and talkers and maybe even thinkers.

I'll have to think about books that may be appealing to a young, fledgling book club. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

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"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo