Starting a Summer Book Club and Book Swap

June 25, 2007

child readingAre you getting ready to have your first yard sale of the summer yet? Have your kids gone through all of their books to add to your sale? Well, hold on there Charlie, have I got an idea for you! If you have got a lot of kids that hang out at your house, why not start a Summer Book Club and book swap.


Teachers all over the country are asking that we keep our children reading over the summer and that we encourage their writing and spelling skills so here is a great idea to do just that. As a parent and grandparent and a volunteer at my local elementary school where I also work, I have seen for myself how much children forget over the summer. Face it, even in this great world of technology, reading and love of reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give children. It is a proven fact that reading is loved when it is fostered by parents and teachers alike.

Have all the kids get together their books and swap with each other. Take all the others and any duplicates that no one wants and sell them in the yard sale, just make sure that this money is kept separate because this just became the club's operating fund. It can be used to pay for refreshments or a pizza party at the end of the summer.


Using your computer, make out a book reading list. At the top, you might want to type in some suggestions of books for the kids to read. Number it 1 to 10 and have a space to write in the title of the book, author and date read. Put a small space in for initials so that someone, like the club president or parent, can verify that the child actually read the book and did not just write in Titles and Authors. This might just be a great time to have your kids read some of the age appropriate books that you read when you were a kid.

The classic children's stories have found less favor since blockbusters like Harry Potter but here is a short list of some of our all time favorites that might make up a good reading list:

When the club meets, you could have them dress as their favorite character and have elected officials like real clubs have. At least, you will need a president and a treasurer. Take the kids on field trips to the park to read or to your local library. For club activities, the kids could make bookmarks or decorate bags to carry their books in. Teach them how to make book covers out of old jeans or brown paper bags. Have contests for the longest book read, the hardest book read, and have a book report contest. Rewards for younger children could be a ribbon with a magnet on the back for their refrigerator. For older children, a gift certificate for the dollar show just might work or to the local bookstore. Assign one child each week to give a book review on a book that they have read.

Ask them to tell you about the characters, the plot, and why they liked or disliked the book. You could make a simple form on your computer to have them write it and read from if you like. Serve healthy snacks at the meetings, things that are easy to eat while reading. Ask a different child each week to bring something or use your book sale money. Now, some children might not have books at home or have any they are willing to part with so when you are out at your local thrift store or church sales, look for cheap books to buy and have on hand. The goal here is to have children reading and you don't want someone who wants to read left out.

At the end of the summer, you can have another sale to get rid of excess books or you might even be able to donate them to the school library if they are in really good shape. Having an adult present during meetings while the kids do about 15 minutes reading helps if someone needs help with a word or does not understand something. Play spelling relay, You will need a list of words and then a deck of index cards that you have put one letter each from each word on the list. The object of the game is to make a word.


Put the cards on the floor and let each person grab 5 to make a word. Any letter that does not fit can be discarded and other players can grab it. Everyone grabs letters until they have made a word from the list. First one to do so wins. Have club members bring over their scrabble games and everyone plays. On the internet, you can find programs that will generate Word Search puzzles and crossword puzzles that will also give your literary geniuses something fun to play during their club meetings.

At the end of the summer, have an award banquet where everyone in the club brings something to eat and you present your kids with their awards. Make a big deal out of it and ask the parents to come too.

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