Over the past few weeks, two of my students have been holding their own book club. The two best friends decided they wanted to read my single copy of Gone. For the first few days they shared my single copy- two heads bent over the book during independent reading. After a few days, I noticed they had two copies. When I questioned them, they said they went to the library and requested a copy, interlibrary, so that they could read next to each other but also “take the book home to read without fighting”. Before this year, they told me they hadn’t been to the library in years.
Every day while we read in class, I watch these two girls move next to each other, open their copies of Gone, and silently turn the pages. They talk about the book with each other and with me, coming to me to share their responses and exclamations. I LOVE IT!
I didn’t require that they read the same book. I didn’t even suggest it (knowing I only had one copy). Instead, they took it upon themselves to have a book club. It’s amazing the power that social reading has. Why don’t we harness this in more classrooms and use it? Students reading, recommending, and talking about books is more powerful than any literacy kit, basal reader, or literature set.