kids reading books. on bench

How To Start A Book Club This Summer

May 5, 2023

There is no rule that reading should be a seasonal affair. In fact, reading is in season in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. However, for many students, summer is a natural break time from school, so it may be easier to let good reading habits slide. When there’s no homework, mandatory reading time, or school projects to complete, reading may not be a huge priority around your home.

However, reading for pleasure has many benefits. One particular benefit is that research shows that students with an active summer reading habit have fewer learning gaps when school resumes in the fall. If you are having trouble finding the motivation to read or help your kids develop a pleasure reading habit, consider starting your very own book club.

Benefits of a Book Club

Book clubs have many benefits. For starters, being part of a book club provides a “forcing function.” The added accountability of being responsible for reading the text can sometimes force a reluctant reader to comply. Another benefit of book clubs is that they are social affairs. A book club allows for a social gathering of like-minded friends over a shared text. Book clubs can be a great way to discuss the book and hear other readers’ opinions and experiences as they relate to the book. Having an opportunity to hear different perspectives can teach skills of empathy and understanding. Finally, what’s a book club without snacks? Sharing a thematic food-related treat can be a fun way to tie in the social aspects of the book club meeting with the discussion zone.

Who Is a Book Club For?

Book clubs are for everyone! No matter the age or reading level, a book club can be fun for anyone interested in forming one. Successful book clubs can be for the young and the old; they can be intergenerational. They can be online or in person. Book clubs can be indoors, outdoors at the pool, or in a public place like the library or a park. Book clubs can be with family, friends, or new-to-you folks who want to connect over a shared love of reading.

How Can I Start a Book Club?

Starting a book club may be easier than you think. First, decide who you want to include in the book club. Will your book club be large or small? Open to your neighbors or another social group you are part of, or will you keep it within your family? Once you have your book club members in place, decide on the location, date, and time you plan to meet. Also, it might be a good idea to determine the frequency of how often the book club will meet or how long you intend for it to run. For example, will this be a one-time book club, one that ends when school resumes, or will you make the book club’s timeline indefinite?

Once you have nailed down who is included in your book club, the time, date, location, and frequency of the book club meetings, it is essential to next determine what book will be the focus of the book club. There are plenty of great book recommendation lists searchable by age online, including on our website. Some initial book club meetings are used to let everyone give ideas on which book the club will read. Will everyone get a chance to recommend a book? What are the criteria for choosing a book based on length, genre, content, or author?

Starting a summer book club can be a focused, fun way to get lost in an engaging and compelling story. The most successful book clubs are ones where each member is engaged and committed, where each member listens as much as they speak, and where thoughtfulness and consideration for others are a priority. Book clubs are an opportunity to create community and have a shared experience through stories.

Our Literacy Tips are presented by Reader’s Digest Foundation.