Saturday, July 12, 2008


Reading Clubs and Book Discussions
Read Below The Surface

What is main theme running through the book serving to unify all the action and characters? Themes may include “good v evil”, “kindness is its own reward”, “ love conquers all”.
& Look at the style of the author’s writing. Does the author use lots of images, word pictures, lovely language, or a cut-and-style style writing? Does this style aid the author in the story goal? Does the author use symbols in the writing?
& Another element to be noted can be tone. Is the tone “preachy”, “bored”, or does the author seem to be writing down to the audience?
& How does the setting function in the story? Does it serve to help move the story forward (integral) or is it merely a background to the story (incidental)?
& What type of plot has the author developed? Plot is the order of events showing the characters in actions that move the story to its conclusion or climax. Remember plot equals action in a story. Action is usually conflict of some nature. A problem that must be overcome. Common types of plots are: person v person; person v self; person v society; person v nature.
& In most cases it is the characters who drive the plot in a story. Who is the main character of the book? How is their nature revealed to the reader? Is the person positive, negative, mystery? How does the author convey them to the reader? Characters are often depicted as “round”{ well developed presentation including details and motives) or “flat” {faintly developed lacking any understanding or motive). How the characters respond to the problems drives the story as they face a problem, overcome it, and face another one. Character + Conflict = Plot (need source)

When people share about books they have read they will be motivated to exercise higher level critical thinking skills. Book discussions are useful in introducing new books, broadening areas of interest, and improving reading/comprehension skills. Book discussions are therefore useful for many age groups. These discussions can be formal as well as informal times of sharing.

Book Discussion Group Agreement
& I will read the book or story selected
& I will respect the opinions of others
& I will communicate clearly and participate often in the discussions
& I will document my statements as often as I can by sharing the line or paragraphs that illustrate my view or my question
& I will express my opinions about the book/author and not other group members

Some Suggested Books for Children To Read and Discuss
Jazmin’s Notebook. Grimes
Shimmershine Queens. Yarbrough
The Well. Taylor
Smokey Night. Bunting
Donovan’s Word Jar. Degross
Babuska’s Doll. Pollaco

See also the standard lists of Award Books, best sellers, local history, and even popular titles not generally viewed as “literature”.

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