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One thing that we all have in common is that we want our children to become confident readers.  We worry how our kids will be successful adults if they can’t read, spell, write – – but we also worry are we doing enough. 

Let me say that you are doing enough. You are doing what you can at this very moment by reading about book clubs.  The reality is that we can’t be absent during this time for our dyslexic kiddos.  We have to figure out how we can support our children at home during this dyslexia journey.  It’s not an easy one.  I know you already know that. 

How I can best help my dyslexic daughter as she enters 5th grade in the fall has been on my mind a lot lately.  Am I getting this right? One thing I know is that I can do it better – I have a feeling I may always feel that way as a parent, can you relate?  I want to share something with you that has stuck in my mind for the last few years related to reading.  

Did you know that when our children read 20 minutes a day they are exposed to 1.8 million words per year compared to children who read 4.5 minutes a day who are only exposed to 282, 200 words read per year?  Dr. Shaywitz, author of Overcoming Dyslexia and the founder of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, shares in her book that children who read 20 minutes a day score better than the 90th percentile on reading test scores, and children who read 4.5 minutes a day scored right at the 50% percentile on reading test scores.     

We all want our children to score at or above grade level on reading tests.  But, more importantly, we want to raise confident readers not only to improve self-esteem but also to understand what they are reading.  To be confident readers, our children need to read with fluency.  Fluency includes reading accurately and quickly.  When our children read choppy and struggle to decode word by word, reading words in isolation, then comprehension is impacted.  Reading fluency includes reading as we talk with the inflection of the words we read and with an understanding of what we are reading.  

I want to be honest here – this is an area that I want to improve this year.  I’ve been thinking about how to achieve this goal of daily reading.  Although I know what the research says about reading fluency and exposure to vocabulary there have been many days when life has gotten in the way.  So, I have been trying to find a way to spark an interest to read daily as a family.  Then, a friend posted a picture of a trip her daughter’s book club took this summer.   My friends Heather and Angela had taken their daughters’ book club to Cool River Tubing after reading The Summer of Bad Ideas. 

I was hooked!  I started researching on Pinterest about starting a kid’s book club.  I talked to our daughter about the idea and she was excited to start a book club for her grade.  We talked about if the book club should be a girls-only book club like my friends had started this summer.  She said no, she wanted to invite her entire 5th grade to participate.  Since she attends a private dyslexia school, there are only 7 students in each class.  We also talked about other options ~ girls from her soccer team, neighborhood, etc.  Haddie said she felt most comfortable with inviting students from her school, who are all dyslexic, to be part of her book club.  And, she wanted her book club to be open to girls and boys so no one felt left out. 

You may be thinking, Nicole – I don’t have time to start a book club.  I don’t even have the time to read 20 minutes a day.  But, I say give it a try.  I am going to give you 5 easy steps to start your book club with no stress for you.  Promise!    

5 Easy Steps to Start a Book Club

  1. Who will you invite to the book club? Will the club be for boys/girls only? Neighborhood friends? Soccer team? Friends from school? Scout troop? or Group of close friends? 
  2. Choose the expectations for the book club, keep it simple. (1) Read the book club before the club meeting. (2) Respect others – respect other members’ opinions and talk when it’s your turn. You can use a bookmark or another physical symbol of who’s turn it is, if needed.
  3. Reach out to your mom tribe. Get other moms involved in the planning and creating excitement. Moms may want to start their own book club too!
  4. Child/parent to choose the book. Set a schedule to rotate which child/parent choosed the book that month. You can deliver the books or present “reveal” at the book club.  In some clubs, the books are purchased by that month’s parent/child.
  5. Make the club meetings fun for kids and stress free for moms. Pinterest has lots of ideas, I created a Pinterest book club board to give you some ideas. Here aree a few things to consider: (1) where will your club meet – home, park, online, etc. (2) what will be the format of the meeting – choose a fun format for club members to discuss the book (talk cards, games, etc.). Incorporate social skills too – taking turns, sharing thoughts and emotions from characters and stories, leading the club on the month of their book and (3) plan a fun craft or activity – make book marks and snacks that go with the book that month.

3 Ways to Get Your Kids Excited About a Book Club

  1. Get your kids Involved in the book club early on (choose a book, activity, etc).
  2. Plan fun activities with your kids for the monthly meeting that kids will look forward to each month.
  3. Create an environment of excitement each month around the new book – book reveal is a fun way to do this.

Here is the email I sent to my daughter’s 5th-grade parents ~

Haddie would like to start a book club for the 5th grade.  Each month a parent/student will choose a book, all club members will read the book, then the parent/student will host a club meeting (very low key).  The kids will discuss the book and then do a fun activity.  (We can also plan a book club for moms, if interested.)  

We plan to kick off the book club in August!  If you are interested in learning more about the book club, join https://groupme.com/join_group.     


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