To some, the idea of leading a book discussion is intimidating. I get that, and I felt that way, too until a new way of looking at the discussion came to mind one day. Questions like: “What if they don’t want to go where I want to lead?” and “What if I can’t say things in a way that will take them where I think we should go?” haunted me and made me nervous before every meeting. I felt like I had to understand the book well enough to get out of a hole that I might dig for myself if the kids asked questions and I didn’t know the answers, or if I asked them questions that only produced silence because they didn’t know what to say. I was tense before every discussion until one night during one of our meetings, an idea struck me and quelled my intimidation: I am not a leader. I am a facilitator.
It occurred to me that I was working much too hard and worrying way too much about the discussion process. The light went on when I realized the number of times I asked questions because I was curious and truly didn’t know the answers. The way the kids handled these moments was impressive. Instead of feeling the need to know it all, all I had to do was listen. In turns, they offered up opinions to each other, batting around possibilities, sometimes arriving at conclusions and sometimes not. An obvious break in conversation cued me to ask another of my questions. My nervousness went away. I began to enjoy talking about the books with the kids more and more as I changed my approach from leading a discussion to facilitating a book conversation. From this experience, I gathered what I learned and offer it to you. I hope these tips will give you courage to enjoy book conversations with your group.
In my new book, The LITCLub, Transforming Reading into an Experience I share Seven tips for creating an enjoyable book conversation. (Click to Tweet)
Would you like to share the classics with your children in a fun and interactive way that will cause them to enjoy reading?