I love my literature club. Sons, daughters, and parents reading together is a natural forum, considering life issues, worldview, producing critical thinking skills. In the LITClub we read the classics and we have fun.
Before we read a book we learn about an element in the book, such as theme or plot, and a literary device like metaphor or imagery. The kids, ages 7-17 look for these devices while reading the book, and then we talk about them when we get together. I also give them a project to prepare and present to the group at the next meeting. When the younger children read Escape from Warsaw, I taught them the element, characterization and the technique, motif. These words can sound scary if you’re new to studying literature, but really they aren’t all that intimidating. Literature isn’t like math or science or even grammar, for that matter. The rules are fluid, and for those of you who are new to facilitating a club, this is good news.
If you have landed on this page, you probably are considering the possibility of creating a literature club. Press on, my friend. It will be an exciting and fulfilling activity and I am here to help you.
Enjoy yourself, read, and discuss!
Here is a simple guide to help you start a club.
1. Decide who you want to attend your group and where you will meet.
2. Create a booklist. Will the families involved help you choose the books? Will you study the classics and follow history chronologically?
3.. Decide where you want to meet and how often you want to meet. You can meet at the same house every time or take turns. This is something you can work out at your first meeting if you don’t have desires one way or the other.
4. Will you have a meal or snacks? It’s fun to connect the food to the theme of the book.
5. Will you teach a literary lesson for each book? Make a list of literary elements and devices you want the group to learn this year and then decide how you will present them. For example, if you want them to learn about metaphors, teach that lesson when you read a book that uses metaphors.
6. Will the children present projects for each book? What do you want the project to accomplish? Will it be simply for enjoyment or will it be connected to the book? Both are valuable. Maybe you can do some of both during the year.
7. Our club studies vocabulary from each book.
8. Discussions are the meat of the club. If you haven’t led a discussion before, start slow. Soon I will have articles on the website or posts on the blog to help you with this. A simple first step in leading a discussion is to study the elements and devices and then read the book. Find the elements in the book and write down questions to ask at your meeting. Then see if you can think of one or two questions to tie the book to life in the present. This personalizes the book.
9. The best thing you can do is relax, enjoy the book and the people in your group. The details will work themselves out over time.
What would you like to know about starting a LITClub? Connect with me and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.
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