Want to Get Your Kid to Like Reading? Start a Parent/Child Book Club!

My daughter Ani never sat still long enough for me to read to her. Books held no interest. Because I’m a teacher, I knew I had to read to her; it was non-negotiable. So, I began reading her books while she crunched cereal, mangled ham and cheese and snacked on cut-up fruit.

Parenting makes you creative.

Despite my best efforts in getting Ani to love reading – trips to the library, books as rewards, a reading headlamp and enough books to rival any bookstore, she did not grow to love it – at all.

However, she always loved playing with her friends. So, out of frustration and a hope for positive peer pressure, when Ani was in first grade, I started a mother-daughter book club with my neighbors.

It was a turning point in our lives.

Melissa’s Picks for

Book Club Books

Ages 6 – 8

  • Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamello
  • Franny K. Stein Attack of the 50 Foot Cupid by Jim Benton
  • Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000 by Eric Wight

Ages 8 – 10

  • Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech
  • Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
  • Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale
  • 39 Clues by various authors
  • What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau

Ages 10+

  • Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

When the initial email went out to the other first-grade girls in our neighborhood, I didn’t expect an enthusiastic response. But every single mother-daughter pair loved the idea and showed up for the first meeting. Apparently, I wasn’t the only mom worried about her daughter’s reading skills.

Sixteen pairs of mothers and daughters crammed into my neighbor’s tri-level suburban living room. Adults sat on couches or stood; kids sat on the hearth and the carpeted floor.

The first meeting we told the girls we would meet once a month, read one book for each meeting (the girl could read by herself or the mom could read the book to her) and have a discussion. In the discussion, everyone would get a turn and treat each other’s comments with respect. Meetings would include desserts. I exchanged knowing looks with the other moms as the meeting ended and our happy girls ran off to grab cupcakes and play. I hoped, if nothing else, this would make my reluctant reader become a moderately decent reader who didn’t complain at the mention of reading.

Surprisingly, from this initial meeting, we established a flourishing mother-daughter book club, meeting monthly with most mom-daughter pairs in attendance. The girls loved the time with their friends including Ani, who willingly participated. The moms loved it, too. After all, it was a rare occasion when we could get together, drink wine and catch up.

Now, two years later, Ani identifies herself as a reader. For her, participating in a book club was a motivation to read, socialize, and spend special time with me. It helped. She is where I’d always hoped she’d be. She loves to read.

If you think parent-child book club sounds like something you’d like to try, here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • Meet regularly in a predetermined location. Our book club meets the last Thursday of every month and we rotate houses.
  • Pick a book. In our case, we let the host girl pick the book to be discussed at her house.
  • Offer food and beverages. Dessert, wine or appetizers.
  • Discuss the book. In our group, after watching the mothers for a year, the daughters now write and ask the discussion questions, from “What was your favorite part?” to “Who would you like to meet?”
  • Invite an author to your meeting. You never know – he or she just might come.
  • See the movie. Ramona and Beezus, for example, was terrific.
  • Plan book-related food. Turkish Delight with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe worked great.
  • Plan book-related games. An Alice and Wonderland croquet game was a big hit.
  • Read different books of the same genre. Each pair reads a different mystery, gives a “book, talk” and provides an activity or game.
Article Posted 6 years Ago
share this article
facebook twitter tumblr pinterest
See Comments
what do you think?
share this article
facebook twitter tumblr pinterest
See Comments
what do you think?
what do you think?
close comments

Related Videos