FAQ/How to Start a Book Club

Here are some helpful ideas to get you started! Have a question you don't see answered here? Feel free to e-mail me at bookclub4boys@yahoo.com

#1 Question: Why is this blog called bookclub4boys- when your ideas are great for girls too?You are right! All the ideas on this blog are great for all types of book clubs. (Boys book clubs, Girl book clubs, Book clubs that are boy and girl mixed! Even Mommy and Me Book clubs and Dad and Me book clubs.) This blog is based on the book clubs I have actually done with my 4 boys. I don't have a daughter- let's not pour salt on an open wound- please. So don't be offended by the name- just browse around and glean from my experience of hosting book clubs for my 4 boys.

Keep scrolling to find answers to these questions:
What type of Book Club should I organize?
Who should I invite?
When and where should our club meet?
What are we going to read?
What makes a Book Club For Boys more fun than other book clubs?
What else have you learned along the way that will help me?
Is hosting my own Book Club For Boys going to be expensive?
How can I make my Book Club For Boys more exciting?

What type of Book Club should I organize?
Think about your son's age and reading level and compare it with these helpful categories:

PRE-READERS (toddlers and pre-schoolers) are the perfect age for Story time! I do this monthly with my 2-year-old and we have a blast! Hosting a Story time is a fun and easy way to help pre-readers connect to books and see just how fun reading can be! You do all the reading and simply provide a snack and activity that relate to the theme of the book(s). Doubt your skills in reading aloud? (Click here for a few tips).

BEGINNING READERS (K-1st grade) are just starting to read on their own. At times it can be frustrating but they love having a special club to look forward to. These clubs meet as often as once a month (depending on your schedule) as a reward for boys who have put the time and effort into reading. Our Free Book Club Outlines are tailored to this age group and provide complete plans of games, activities and treats that relate to specific books.

INDEPENDENT READERS (2nd - 3rd grade) are reading on their own small chapter books. Now that they can read, some resist practicing. Our Book club outlines for this age include incentive games to encourage them to read the books all the way to the end. (Just one example: While asking boys questions about the book, reward right answers with a filled water balloon for a water fight later in book club.) Using incentive games help motivate boys to finish books for the next book club meeting!

CONFIDENT READERS (4th grade+) Boys this age can often read well but prefer more action-oriented activities. Even though they can read, some boys still choose not to read. Hosting a book club will motivate them to plug-along in their book and meet a deadline- their next Book Club! Another fun idea is a Book/ Movie Club. Boys who love movies will be able to connect with the characters, the plot, and the setting, so they will be less intimidated by a longer book. Click here for some favorite Book/Movie combos to try with your own Book & Movie club and help boys extend the adventure they love in the movie by reading the book!

Who should I invite?
Sit down with your son and make a list of who he might like to invite. Brainstorm with him, thinking of friends from school, church, sports, the neighborhood, etc. Explain that you will ultimately narrow it down from this "wish list."

Survival tip: I limit the size of the club to how many can comfortably sit at my table. Sitting at the table helps eliminate the inevitable silliness that happens when boys are on the floor or even on the couch. When every boy has his own space, there is less elbowing, poking, pinching and rough-housing in general. Sitting at the table is the way to go!

When and where should our book club meet?
Now you get to decide if you want to rotate homes or if the book club will always meet at your house. If you plan on rotating homes, set up a meeting with the involved parents to plan a rotation schedule. Now, decide when you will meet. Whether you meet in the evening or right after school, the key is to keep it consistent and keep it to a specific time, e.g., 5 PM – 7 PM on the first Friday of every month. Having a set time is helpful for parents, and it keeps the book club focused on being a “special club” instead of just hanging out at someone’s house.

What are we going to read? 
We have many great book recommendations that your boys will love! Remember, it doesn’t matter what they read, just that they read. The more they read, the more they’ll like it, so look at your son’s interests for clues about books that may interest him. See our Book Club Outlines for ideas that may interest your son.

Survival Tip: Once you decide what book you're reading, the most important thing is to
GIVE THE BOYS THE BOOKS! At the end of each club meeting, take a few minutes to introduce the new book. You might watch a short movie clip (if there is one) or read the back cover summary. Brainstorm together what the boys already know about the general topic to help with comprehension. These boys have just had a lot of fun at book club and are geared up for the next new adventure; having enough copies to give every boy the next book is key to keeping the momentum going. Do not squash their enthusiasm by having to wait until they get to the library, or the bookstore, or their friend’s house to borrow a copy. Have the books ready to hand out and your book club will be a success!

What makes a Book Club 4 Boys more fun than other book clubs?
BookClub4Boys is about DOING activities and games that relate to the book; talking about what they read and extending it into games and interactive play turns reading into something FUN for boys of all ages.

Survival tip: I ALWAYS start my Book Club doing some kind of physical activity. They come excited and full of energy (as usual), so the discussion and activity portion of the club will go much more smoothly when you get that burst of energy and excitement out first. Wearing them out with a solid 20 minutes of play is not only fun, but also a great way to stall as you wait for all the members of the club to arrive.

What else have you learned along the way that will help me?
Call reinforcements! There are other parents in your book club so make sure you use them for support. Delegate, make a rotation and share responsibilities to keep one person from getting overwhelmed. You are not alone! Do what works best for you and your boys: maybe the hostess orders the books and prepares the activities, and the other parents bring the food and gather supplies for the games.

Survival tip: I’ve tried just assigning the book and letting the parents get the books on their own. This has never worked. Inevitably, some parents plan on getting it from the library and it was checked out or there weren’t enough copies. Boys have a hard enough time finishing the book on time for a meeting; don’t let “getting the book late” become another excuse.

Is hosting my own Book Club For Boys going to be expensive?
No! Most books cost less than a movie ticket these days, and the benefits last much longer! When you organize your club, figure out monthly dues from the beginning. These dues will cover the cost of the book plus supplies. Check out our (BookClub4BoysBookstore), where books are available that match our FREE, parent-tested book outlines! You can also try your local library- some have book sets- designed for book clubs!

How can I make my Book Club For Boys more exciting?
You can do anything you'd like! All of our outlines involve a variety of activities and provide a fun, detailed starting point, but adding your own ideas is where the fun really begins! Tailor your book club to match the boys in your group. A few things we've enjoyed:

The Chat And Chew Book Club!
The Movie Book Club!
Field Trip Book Club!

What do I do with the book(s) when we're done?
You might think, “Gee, that is a lot of books that my son will only read once! I don’t want to have them around collecting dust.” Personally, I love having books around! They are like old friends and when I see them, I remember the story and re-visit the book in my mind. Your son may enjoy having the books around and could even re-read some of them!

 If you don’t want to keep the books around, donate them! If everyone in your club agrees with you, you can donate the set in a special Book Club Bag and start a collection that can be checked out at the public library. This is a fantastic service to your community! There are many libraries around the country that have these book club bags already organized. You can also donate the books to the Boys and Girls Club, or have your son pass the book along to a friend who might like it. There are many things you can do with a good book!

My son has a hard time with books. How else can I help him keep reading?
There is much more to read in the world than just books! In fact, your son might be reading more than you realize. Just because he doesn't dedicate himself to reading a lengthy novel doesn't mean he hates reading. Some other ideas to "spice things up":

Kid-friendly magazines. Magazines are less intimidating for reluctant readers because they have lots of pictures and shorter articles. If your son loves animals, he's sure to love Ranger Rick. Sports fans will enjoy Sports Illustrated for kids.

Recipes. Get him helping in the kitchen; he'll find it hard to refuse the invitation when he knows he'll be rewarded with a warm, gooey cookie afterwards!

Computer games with written dialogue. Look for games that require reading to play.Directions. Print out road directions and let your son navigate!

Computer game/ cheat guides. If your son has a favorite game, see if there is a guide that reveals hidden secrets and "cheats". What better way to practice comprehension? Your son has to apply what he has read to get the reward while playing his game. (Remember: it doesn't matter what they read. The trick is to get them to read.)

Joke books provide hours of entertainment for boys, who often end up laughing so hard they don't even realize they're reading!

Magic trick books

Scavenger hunts, treasure hunts...when you start getting creative, you'll find that everyday reading opportunities are endless! (This is a favorite activity at some of our book clubs.)

What if my son has lower reading skills?
Older boys with lower reading levels may get frustrated; they don't want to read "baby books" that are closer to their reading level, but often the books that interest them are just too hard to read. One of my sons had this problem until a family member gave us a subscription to Ranger Rick. He loved the articles, which were short enough that he could read them without getting frustrated, and all the great pictures kept his attention.

An idea for a book club: Assign his book club a book in a series. (For example: The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe) While he reads the first book in the series- other book club members who read faster can continue to read the whole series. Then when it comes time for discussion- he can report on the first book, while other members can report on the following books. Everyone will be involved- no one will be bored. And who knows? After hearing about the following books- your son might be interested in reading those too! There are a lot of great series- you can check out our book store for more ideas.


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