A great way to find friends, encourage reading and have some great, low-cost fun is to start a book club. You can have a community book club, a family club, An after school or summer club is also an option.
Here are some hints on how to start your book club.
Choose what kind of book group you would like to start.
Limit the number of participants by the type of group and the size of your meeting space, and the type of group. You may wish to limit the book group to 10-12 members. (A parent and child together count as one member.)
Decide on a time and place to hold your book group. Once a month seems to give participants enough time to read the assigned amout of material. When you’re scheduling be mindful of holidays and school schedules. Some book groups meet at the members’ houses and rotate their locations.
Once you have chosen your members, send them a note announcing your first meeting.
Hold an intial meeting in order to get the business of the group done. At this meeting accomplish the following: Choose your first book. Ask your local librarian or favorite English teacher for help.
Decide on the structure of the meetings:
Agree on rules and courtesies.
Set up a phone list so that everyone in the group can be reached easily and quickly. Ask each person to call the next person on the list when there is book group news or cancelations due to weather. Be sure to collect emergancy contact numbers to all members.
Decide where you will be meeting and make sure you have access to that space. This may mean contacting a custodian, or getting a key to the building if you are meeting in a school or church. Perhaps you will be able to meet in the nearest library or your home.
Pick a member to act as the hospitality chair. This member will agree to be at the book group site 15 minutes prior to the meeting, and stay until all the others are safely en route home. The member could also work out a schedule where members rotate this responsiblity.
Develop a schedule to determine which members will be responsible for materials, snacks, and clean-up duties. You can rotate these jobs, or ask the host or hostess for that meeting to handle them.
In order to be sure the facility you are meeting in will always be happy to have you, the following hints should be considered.
Make sure you have all materials you need for any activities you have planned. Keep lots of clean-up materials handy.
Kid-proof any areas that young children will use. Decide ahead of time how the group will handle a child who attends without an adult.
Other details to be worked out:
How will the group will deal with a member who hasn’t read the book.
Can your group get multiple copies of your book. Libraries, schools, or bookstores may be able to help.
How much time do you need for your meetings and what will be the general order of events? Leave time at the end of each meeting to settle on the next selection, assign jobs, and choose the next meeting location.
Most importantly, have fun! The best thing about a book group is that it helps get kids hooked on reading.