Motivation Tips

How to Motivate Middle School Students to Join Book Clubs
By:Erin Schreiner

A book club can provide middle school students with the opportunity and motivation required to become successful readers. However, some students of this age, content to be too-cool-for-school, loathe to join a club of this type. While you certainly can't win over every reluctant reader in your middle school, you can likely persuade a few more into joining your club by putting some effort into encouraging students to participate.

Select high-interest books. While the classics from the literary canon may be good for your students to read, a book club menu filled with only these texts likely won't entice many middle school students. Instead of the classics, fill the list of books you intend to feature with contemporary works that feature issues of importance to your potential members. Try options from the Printz young adult literature award list, as it is often filled with provocative works that your middle school students will love.

Ask teachers to speak about the club with enthusiasm. If teachers act excited about the book club, this enthusiasm may rub off. Encourage the teachers in your department to continually remind the students of just how fun the book club could be, talking up the club to encourage students to give it a try.

Decorate the halls with student-created advertisements. Ask the students who sign on to create colorful and attention-getting posters. Place these around the school to ensure that your book club stays in the minds of potential members.

Use your school announcements as a way to get the word out about your club. If your school has video announcements, create book club commercials. Feature texts that you intend to read, mentioning the most exciting plot points. If your school only has public address announcements, consider creating radio plays, enlisting the help of two students to read a skit recounting the excitement of the last book club meeting.

Make the meetings social in nature. Offer your club members refreshments and remind them that the meeting is a place for them to communicate their thoughts and ideas about the books. Allow students to guide the discussions as much as possible, ensuring that the topics discussed at the meetings are the ones that students are interested in, not the ones that teachers deem important.

Encourage students to refer friends. Give student members invitations to hand out to friends who haven't yet joined the club, encouraging those hold-outs to give the book club a try.

Offer students class credit for participation. If your school allows it, give students extra credit for taking part in book club, or offer them an exam or major project pass that they can apply to an assignment in English class if they attend the book club with regularity.






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