Engaging children in reading
Josie Watson from Essex Libraries tells us about one of the many children's reading groups they run - this one takes place at Basildon Library:
The Children's Book Group is for 8 - 11 year olds, though some a little younger join and some a little older stay on. Numbers fluctuate as children move on to senior school and others have brought their friends along. One of the youngest members was encouraged to join the group as her mother wanted her to learn how to talk with others in a group situation, and from being very shy and not wanting to be there on her first visit, a year and a half later, she is taking an active part.
As the reading preferences are so varied, members don't always read the same book. Sometimes, it's 'Choose your own'!
Puzzles and games
The group likes doing word puzzles, and board games, the latest being a homemade effort, St. Clare's - the board game (based on the Enid Blyton books and in the format of Snakes and Ladders)! If you land on an Action Square, you could be sent back 2 spaces for forgetting to wake your dorm up for the Midnight Feast, or forward 6 spaces as you board the train for the Christmas holidays! The Question square cards are full of questions like Where is Your favourite place to read? or What is the funniest book you have ever read? And these have generated a lot of book discussion in the middle of the game.
Voicing your own opinions
It's a multicultural group and has had members of English, Caribbean, Chinese and Pakistani descent. Everyone's views and input are welcome, and members are learning to give each other space and time to voice their own literary opinions.
The benefits of children's reading groups are too many to mention, but above all they provide a safe place for young people to develop their interest in books with their peers and learn to relate to others whose likes and dislikes and opinions may be very different from their own.
Find a children's reading group to join.
Check out our Chatterbooks page to get tips and ideas for running your own children's reading group.
If you've got a story to tell about your reading group or book club, do get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.