A couple of days ago I saw an article at Boston Mamas.com (which is really great site to check out if you live in the Boston area) about a mother-daughter book club with girls who are 7 and 8.
Here’s a bit of what Lindsay wrote about her reading group:
“We are six mother-daughter teams, and all of the girls are 7 or 8. Each visit we gather at someone’s home, and the girl who lives there has picked the book that we discuss.
The first thing we do is go around and the girls read the book aloud page by page. There is something magical about those minutes, as the girls hesitate before long words, their voices audibly growing in confidence as they forge ahead through a paragraph. Even in a year there has been a marked improvement in their reading skills. I am always mesmerized, looking around the room at these nascent girls, all tall and lean and angular, seemingly more so by the day, exuding both confidence and tentativeness.
After the reading is complete, we talk about the book. Often the host girl has some question prepared, or else the mothers start the discussion. At this point our topics are generally quite simple and plot-based: for example, what was everyone’s favorite illustration, part of the book, or character? The girls ask questions of each other, too. There’s usually a lot of giggling.”
I think Lindsay captures the challenges and rewards of starting a book club with girls before they can read challenging books confidently. Choosing short books to read out loud during a meeting is a great way to start with younger girls. These groups can also read books the girls can’t read on their own, with moms reading out loud to them before book club meetings. A few books that work for this include Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, and Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
To read Lindsay’s complete article, including her recommendations for a few read-aloud books that are appealing to this age group, visit Boston Mamas.com.