In an age where sports, outside activities and video games seem to win the day, students at Walnut Grove Elementary School are taking an active interest in reading. Throughout the school year, Carroll ISD faculty and students have embraced the district’s “Once Upon a Dragon” theme focusing on literacy and a life long love of learning.
Just before winter break, Donna Clarrissimeaux organized a book club for her fourth grade students.
“This is a great opportunity for students to experience new kinds of genres and discuss their thoughts with their fellow peers,” Clarrissimeaux said.
Each Thursday, students get together with their respective group to talk about what they’ve read. The ‘Question King’ or ‘Queen’ asks questions to begin the discussion. The students read approximately 50 pages per week. They also are required to journal during the week. The entries should discuss their thoughts about the book, but they are also encouraged to ask questions, study the characters, and predict what’s going to happen in the book.
“Journaling has helped me understand what’s going on in the book,” Kiera DiCesare said. “It makes me think more about what’s taking place with the characters.”
While the critical thinking is a bonus, for many of the students, the club is simply about their love of reading and having fun.
“I’m a big fan of reading, it’s one of my favorite things to do,” Regi Capati said. “I like studying the characters and figuring them out.”
Imaad Virani and Emma Schoof said they also like the back and forth discussions, but have their own favorite parts of the club.
“I like trying to figure out what certain passages mean and if I could put more deep thought into it,” Schoof said.
The students may not all infer the same ideas from what they’ve read, but one thing the students all agree on is that Mrs. Clarrissimeaux makes reading exciting.
“Mrs. Clarrissimeaux makes reading so much fun” Matthew Murday said. “She even did a headstand one day to get us thinking!”
A young boy finds out his family has moved into a house where the previous owner was murdered. A young girl discovers her true identity. A friendship is tested. Three orphaned siblings journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world. These are the themes behind the novels that Eubanks Intermediate School students are reading in book clubs this year.
EIS librarian Lucy Drenka said, “When we meet, we simply discuss the book that we are currently reading and share recommendations with the other members of the club. I start the discussion and then toss a stuffed animal to the student who would like to speak – giving them the floor.”
“I love book club because book lovers get together and talk about the books that they have recently read,” sixth grader Nicholas Tornow said. “I’ve read several books that I never thought I would read because of book club.”
Sixth grader Natalie Gessner agreed, “I like book club because you see the different books that other people have read … it’s a fun way to be creative and be yourself.”
Club membership has its perks.
“When Tim Green visited our school, we got to sit in the front row and we sent him our picture. I can’t wait for our upcoming tour to Barnes and Noble. I will join book club again next year because I love it,” fifth grader Nadia Khalil said.
“Members are also allowed to check out an additional book each time they visit the library, plus they are also the first to see the new books when they arrive in the library,” Drenka said.
The club has many exciting activities slated for 2013, including a meeting dedicated to sharing reader’s favorite books and treats.
“We’ll be sipping on cocoa and talking about how books warm our hearts, creating book trailers and viewing them at a popcorn party, visiting the Southlake Public Library, and sharing food items that are mentioned in books,” Drenka said. “It just doesn’t get better than that!”
Titles on member’s individual reading lists include: