Monday, September 12, 2016

Character Unit Book Club

So excited to be launching my first in class book club tomorrow! I get a lot of questions about book club and you can check out my Book Club Basics post {here}.

A big thing I stress is keeping book clubs authentic. For me, these are not literature circles with a packet and jobs. Could use those roles, sure! But a real book club, doesn't function that way. In real life you read a book independently and then get together with your club to discuss and enjoy the book. In my class, book clubs operate the same way. Students read the books independently and then come together on Fridays to share, discuss, or work on something fun! We also use these books as ways to get in our Reader's Workshop mini-lessons. Since I've read all of the books, its easy to do a comprehension check as well or help striving readers. As always, you need to do what's best for your classroom. I always try and offer lots of choice and once students finish two book club novels within the unit, they are on free choice.

Our first book club of the year focuses on characters. We dig deep and look at how and when characters act out of character. We also begin to analyze how other characters and even settings can impact characters. At the conclusion of this unit, students write a literary essay focusing on their main characters. My teaching partner and I wanted to focus on books that will help build community within our team. Therefore, many of the choices deal with characters that have special needs or are dealing with problems outside of their control like divorce and having a parent in jail.

This unit could work with ANY novel with strong characters but here are few of my favorites... 
If you'd like to book talk any of these novels, click the Book Talks graphic. It will link you to my Google Drive link. You can download my SMARTnotebook file with strong character novels.



  1. Thanks for sharing these ideas. You are so right about the 'real life' version of book clubs. I'm not sitting with a glass of wine telling my friend to identify the characters and write them down in her notebook (hahaha!). I am new to the blog and will continue to check out your posts!



    1. Thanks so much Maria! I think we an still analyze books but we also need to give students the feeling of enjoying books as well. They can identify a lot of their thinking and understanding in conferences and reading responses. Sometimes, you just need to read and share great books!!

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