When it comes to crafts, games, and storytimes, children tend to flock to these programs and have fun. Ironically, book clubs are the tough ones to sell to my youngest library patrons. This does not mean that first and second graders are not interested in books; on the contrary, there are several popular series and authors that they gravitate towards and these books could be used to build book clubs.
As a way to encourage reading enrichment for our youngest readers, I developed an Elephant & Piggie book club for first and second graders and it was wildly popular, boasting up to 40 children a session! Children and librarians alike love the funny characters created by Mo Willems. For children who love the Pigeon series, focusing on Elephant & Piggie is the next step. This series is hilarious, sweet, and provides children with the opportunity to engage in partner reading.
How did this book club work?
- Provide each child with a copy of the selected book and assign partners. One child will be Elephant and the other will be Piggie.
- Be sure to go around and check on children that may need assistance reading.
- Once the reading is complete, time for an activity! Altogether, the program takes 45-60 minutes.
What are some examples of activities used in the program? For each book, I developed activities that focused on reading, writing, and creativity, all while relating to the main topics of the book. Below are some ideas that I have used for each title:
- I Am Invited to a Party!: Sight word bingo
- We Are in a Book!: Write and draw a story using word bubbles
- I Really Like Slop: Write an original recipe
- I Will Surprise My Friend: Make a surprise card for a friend
What are some other series that would work for this age group?
- Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi
- A Really Bird by Harriet Ziefert
- Unlimited Squirrels by Mo Willems
- Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant
- Pete the Cat by James Dean
- Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
Can this be an outreach program? YES! You can do this program during a school visit. Alternatively, you can offer it as an afterschool program at the local elementary school. This can serve as a “sneak peek” into library programs! If you plan on going the latter route, reach out to school administrators first. Learn how afterschool programs are implemented and if this is feasible for you and your library.
Let’s face it: book clubs for children can be tough to launch. However, there are so many ways we can explore what works for our patrons. It is a matter of trial and error!
What is a successful children’s book club you have done at your library?
Today’s guest blogger is Ariel Barreras. Ariel is the Children’s Librarian at the Ridgefield Park Public Library in Ridgefield Park, NJ. She is passionate about children’s programming and outreach.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.