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Breathing New Life into Book Clubs

A Practical Guide for Teachers

Essential strategies for creating, sustaining, and improving classroom book clubs.

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Sonja and Dana have both a confession and a challenge to teachers. Managing classroom book clubs can be hard. Real hard. But honestly, is there any better way to get students vested in reading?  When book clubs work, don’t they create a culture of reading unlike anything else? One that brings out the very best in our students?

With both infectious enthusiasm and a realistic perspective, Sonja and Dana take on teachers’ doubts and concerns about book clubs, and build a compelling case for their value in every classroom. They provide all the nuts and bolts for creating and managing successful book clubs, including:

  • Dozens of “pitfalls and pathways” minilessons that address common roadblocks
  • Tips for using technology to enhance book club work for deeper student engagement
  • Suggested “book bins” for book club work, organized by grade level and genre.

Whether you’re looking to breathe new life into book clubs or begin implementing them in your classroom, Sonja and Dana give you essential strategies to make book clubs work. “Because book clubs,” they write, “are where students fall in love with reading.”

Additional Resource Information

(click any section below to continue reading)



1. Creating a Culture of Reading Through Book Clubs
2. Organizing and Setting Up Book Clubs
3. Launching and Managing Book Clubs
4. Lighting the Fire of Discussion
5. Journeying Through Texts with Peers
6. Living with Books All Year Long



“Dana and Sonja teach us what years of eavesdropping on my aunts taught me—that book clubs are not merely about books and discussion protocols. They are about the humans that come to them, the people that we become when we are in them, and the powerful people that endure—long after we put the texts down—because we have read together.  Dana and Sonja’s work is powerful because beyond guiding us into the structures, routines, and lessons that ensure meaningful reading and purposeful talk, they expertly guide us toward crafting the experiences that give children multiple opportunities to live as readers, as thinkers, and as members of a community. Dana and Sonja understand that whenever our society has been confronted with big questions, well-read young people have always been the answer.”—Cornelius Minor, from the Foreword