Book Club Fails

In a school culture where risk is embraced and experimentation encouraged, failure is inevitable. While I should will do a future post about the good things that have happened during my book clubs, I have had quite a few challenges to overcome as I think through how I want book clubs to look in the coming school year.

Book Club Fails

Meeting only once per week. – Students forgot where we were in the book and read everything on the first day. OR, students stayed up late or neglected other school work because they hadn’t stayed up with our reading.

Too many kids in the book club. – Kids having way too many side conversations or rolling around on the stools playing around because they were too far from the conversation to hear what was going on. Experimenting with the numbers, I think 10 is my max to manage in a book club successfully.

Students not reading the book. – Conveying the commitment piece of being a part of a book club is still a struggle. I’ve yet to have a book club session where every person has read what we agreed upon and is caught up as a group.

Four kids lost their book club books. – Sigh.

Created a Canvas book club page and discussion group that no one used. – They said since it’s not for a grade and they already have to do that in class, they just want to hang out and talk about the books. I get that, but still would love to have some kind of engaging tech component integrated into our book clubs.

Having students drop out of book club. – This is bound to happen, I know. I don’t finish every book I start either, and if your closest friends are not in book club with you, then missing lunch with them might not be worth it.

Having book club at lunch. – All of the books have food on them somewhere.

Telling students it’s ok to read ahead. – Then there’s always that one kid that finishes the book and spoils the ending.

Letting students choose how much we read between each meeting. – When I did this, it took us three months to finish a book, meeting twice per week. Sometimes we only read five pages between times together. That book drug on so very long.

Not letting students choose how much we read between each meeting. – Much harder for the kids to keep up, and some are left far behind.

Telling kids we would do a book club on a specific book when I didn’t have enough copies of that book. – Oops. My bad. I was able to use some lost / missing book money to buy the copies, but need to count first and announce second in the future.

Scheduling a book club that’s supposed to be a collaborative group between the counselor and I, except it’s when she has lunch duty. – Again, my bad. I thought that group had a later lunch, I didn’t realize the counselor had lunch duty, and hopefully we can get one librarian / counselor team book club in before the end of the year.


I’m continuing my current book club through to the end of this book, and will hopefully have time for one more after. Those are all genuine challenges I’ve had so far this year with book clubs.

I have currently only had book clubs for Mark Twain Nominee books, for my fourth and fifth grade students, to encourage more of those students to be able to vote on the Twain Nominees in the spring. I want to continue book clubs but do them better, expand to 3rd and maybe even 2nd grade classes. But I (obviously) have lots of things to rethink before starting book clubs again in the fall.

Any advice or methods of conducting book clubs that has worked well in your library / learning commons?


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