About a year ago, my co-worker and I had the opportunity to facilitate a parent/child book club. Our library had been awarded a generous grant from Target (yay Target) to fund the program. The book club was designed for children 5- to 7-years-old and their parents. Registration was required; our budget limited us to 10 families per meeting. We worked out a registration system that seemed fair (we announced in advance when we would begin taking names and did allow for a waiting list; attendance was confirmed prior to the program to open up spots for those on the waiting list) and generally did not have a problem with people registering but not showing up (which was great, since we generally don’t require registration for our programs).
Each program was centered around one book. We had a list of themes that were listed in the grant that we had to work with, and titles were chosen accordingly. The format for each program was basically the same. The book was read aloud to the group (by either myself or my co-worker), followed by a handful of discussion questions and then each family was given a copy of the book to keep. We usually asked the parents and children to reread the book together while we passed out supplies for a learning activity. After the learning activity, families were free to go. Children were given a snack (such as a granola bar and a juice box) and a reading incentive (such as a “Reading is Cool” rubber bracelet). Each family was also given a list of related library resources and suggested activities to try at home.
The book club was an extremely fun program to run, and parents responded very positively to it (of course, it didn’t hurt that their child got a book, a snack and a nice incentive to take home). It’s possible to implement the program with a much smaller budget (I forget how much we had to work with, but I believe it was close to $5000). I’ll be sharing some of my program outlines for book club on the blog this week. First up: Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni– a cute story about friendship and, as you’ll see, science, too!
Download a .pdf here: