It finally happened! I have been dreaming of a Y6 mother-or-significant-other/daughter book club for several years, and after a few false starts, I hosted our first One More Page book club yesterday afternoon. Working in an all-girls school, it was an obvious arrangement, although I have heard of many of father/son book clubs which have also been wildly popular. Yesterday was a small affair, with three girls, one mother, two grandmothers and me. And food! (What type of book club doesn't have choc-chip cookies and strawberries???)
Background - Why was I so keen to get this type of book club established?
- Year 6 is a great time of change for girls- emotionally, physically, mentally, socially... actually too many ways to list. It is also a time when social media starts playing a role in their lives, and when some hobbies start to lose their appeal.
- In primary school, there can be a tendency to view reading in a very functional way - after all, it's an essential foundational skill for all areas of education. However, recent research points to the value of reading for pleasure and leisure in reducing stress and developing a sense of tranquility, improved memory and increased analytical skills, not to mention developing empathy. (For a nifty easy-to-read article about this, click here.)
- Discussing books is loads of fun for avid readers, and can be a nudge in the right direction for those who are not quite as enthusiastic. Sharing these discussions with a significant person in a young girl's life can be a bonding experience, and another piece in the puzzle of a lifelong love of reading.
Yesterday afternoon we discussed Sick Bay by Nova Weetman. (For a thought bubble about this beautiful book, click here.) Our discussions exceeded my expectations. We tackled grief, resilience, self-acceptance and asked 'what is normal?'. There was no dominant group member, and listening to others' perspectives and 'aha' moments was invigorating. We all left with a greater understanding of the characters in the book, and a new perspective on others we might meet with in 'real life'.
On this page, I don my much-loved (and now well-worn) Teacher Librarian hat.