Book Clubs- Who, What, Where, When and Why!

I love running book clubs. I have presented on book clubs at local conferences, at ASCA 2016, and I love to run them whenever I can.

Last year I wrote this blog post for the Confident Counselor’s on starting a book club. Check it out!

Why host a book club?

Research collected on middle school read-alouds showed that 58 percent of teachers read aloud to their students. That number surprised me! There is so much joy in hearing someone read and I have fond memories of my teachers reading to me.

Book clubs provide a great opportunity to infuse reading into a small group, build relationships over great titles, and they provide a great activity for lunch bunches.

Photo by Burst on

Where and When?

I am fortunate to have my own classroom so I can easily host book clubs there. If you don’t have a large enough space consider taking the book club out doors, asking if you can borrow a teachers room if they don’t eat in their classroom, or even find a spot in the library.

Scheduling is always tough, but I enjoy doing these groups during lunch and their core extension academic time. You know how lunch bunches go. They come in a few min. late because they’ve been going through the lunch line. They are so busy eating that they can’t talk or they talk so much they don’t eat. Then you have to let them leave a few min. early so they can clean up and be back in class. So, I read aloud for the first few min. as they eat. When they are done they pick up the book and follow along. Sometimes we run late, but I haven’t had one teacher complaint and I think it’s because they know we are reading. 

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

Where to get your books?

In every school I ‘ve worked in there has been a hidden room of old teacher book sets that are collecting dust. Ask your librarian or academic coach where old class sets go and find yourself a hidden treasure.

Still need help finding books? Read my post here on places you can get books for cheap or free.


For scheduling I look at students that have not been identified as needing extra Tier Support. I also look at students that are in that gap- they aren’t identified as need extra help, but there is room to grow.

I also love doing book clubs with my ESL students.


This article on alternatives to round robin reading has always stuck with me.

What are you reading?

Here are some of my favorite chapter books to use in book clubs.

Photo by Fernando Gonzalez on
Inside Out and Back Again by T. Ali

Activity: Use this Activity Guide from Harper Collins.

New Kid by J. Craft
The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Activity: Use this activity guide from Harper Collins.

Activity: I have used this activity guide in the past.

Chrissa by American Girls

You can get the American Girl activity guide here. We celebrate finishing this book by watching the movie!

Circle of Three: Enough Friendship To Go Around
100 Dresses by E. Estes
The Hundred Dresses

Activity: Get a lesson plan from Scholastic.

A Smart Girls Guide To Starting Middle School by American Girl
A Smart Girl's Guide to Starting Middle School : Everything You Need to Know about Making the Grade, Staying Cool at a New School, and Juggling... by

Activity: I let each girl pick a chapter that they just have to read. I let the girl tell us why they picked that chapter, and the conversation flows.

Save Me A Seat by S. Weeks

Activity: Here is a reading guide with lots of great discussion questions.

Restart from G. Korman

Activity: Two Worms Blog has some great conversation starters.

Need more? Check out my blog post for the Confident Counselor’s on starting a book club.

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