How to start a literary circle for boys
First - sit down with your son and get his wish list of who he would like to invite. Write everyone down- but be sure to let him know, only 4 or 5 boys will be able to be invited to join your book club/ literary circle.
( Too many- gets too out of control. Survival tip: is having your club sit around your kitchen table. There is way less rough housing and distractions this way- and this naturally limit’s the group to how many can be invited.)
Now that you have narrowed down your list to 4 or 5 boys- get multiple copies of a wonderful book. (Boys can help pick your reading selection.)You’ll need one book for each child in your group. (Survival tip: Do not to leave this important step to each individual parent. It is much easier for one parent to buy 6 copies of a book- rather than rely on every parent having the opportunity to hit the local book store. You don’t want one boy to be at a disadvantage at not having the book.) Support our site- by shopping at Bookclub4boys Book Store!
Set a reasonable deadline. You can set the reading schedule or let the boys be involved. At the first meeting- hand out a calendar and let the boys set reasonable reading goals. (The boys know about how many pages they average in a 30 min reading session- this is a common homework assignment.- so this should help. )
For example - if you son reads about 6 pages in a 30 minute period, and he is reading 5 days a week for homework that equals 30 pages a week. (6pg x 5 days= 30 pages/week) If your literary circle meets every Friday at 3:00 everyone should have read 30 pages- by the next meeting.
If the book you have selected has a total of 330 pages then I will take you …
( 330 divided by 30 = 11 weeks to finish the book. )
Next give each child a different colored folder, clipboard,or 1/2 sheet of cardstock/bookmark like pictured. This colored item has the description of a particular job-that they are to fulfill by next book club meeting. If you use a folder or clipboard-also include a bookmark that matches- to help them remember their “mission” as they read. Here are some basic duties for each member of the group- and you can come up with your own creative titles for each position. (Jobs in parenthesis can be omitted if your group is smaller.)
I personally- thought laminating these larger "book marks" with the job description would be easier for boys to use. On the empty space at the bottom of the book mark- I am going to place a Post-it sticky piece of paper. That way they can jot down their thoughts easily- while they read.
Example of Jobs:
Discussion Leader (Trail Blazer)- who leads the conversation and meeting,
Reader (Campfire Stories)- who picks out a favorite or important passage from the book to read aloud, Vocabulary Finder- person who finds and looks up hard or unfamiliar words,
(Illustrator - who draws a picture of an important event, )
Predictor (Camp Cook- what's simmering?)- who looks for clues to what might be coming up next,
(Characterization (Role Call!)- person who keeps track of who is who and what their traits are)
(Connector- who tries to find connections to our real world.)
Vocabulary- (Bear Watch- on look out for those hard or unfamiliar words.)
During the meeting- children present their information in this basic order. Then they rotate the folders- so everyone will have opportunities to do all positions. The goal is to have everyone contribute to the group.
For the first meeting- I suggest reading the first chapter aloud and everyone practice each role. This way everyone has an opportunity to see their job being done. This also helps get the boys hooked and interested in the book. Once the boys become familiar with the roles and what to expect… this literary circle could be turned over to the boys! ( yippee!)
Refreshments are always appreciated- especially if you can tie it into a theme in the book.
Also- in my son’s new group- we are going to play Scrabble too… with bonus points if they use some words relating to the theme of the book.
(Survival Tip: Regardless that this is a Literary Circle- I would still have some type of physical excercise or "drill" they do before they sit at the table. For example: Record how many push ups and sit ups they each can do. Tell them to take a lap or two around the house and time them. They will like the opportunity to release some energy and enjoy seeing their physical progress. )