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Book Club

This will be the second major project of the semester and will, hopefully, begin to answer the
question most often asked by new reading/writing teachers: if we arent teaching grammar, how
do we teach writing? Book club is also a moment, in a class filled with theories of writing, to take
a moment to understand theories of reading and the intimate connection between the two.
Different groups of students will read different books from the state framework list of
recommended authors in middle school and high school, and we will, as a class, explore the
experience of reading and writing together.
We will use book clubs to explore the important connections between reading and writing and
conversation. Each of you will keep individual journals that mark how you make meaning of the
different texts each group/club is reading. You will meet regularly in class with your small group
of classmates to discuss what you think about the book and about its significance. At the end of
the club, you will each write a brief analysis of the connections between reading, writing, and
collaboration you made during the book club experience. Finally, your small group will do a
brief presentation on your respective analysis.
Book Choices:
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
This Boys Life by Tobias Wolff
The Color of Water by James McBride
The Things They Carried- Tom OBrien
What to Do During Book Club
At the start of each book club (held in classsee the schedule for days), you will write a reading
journal that will chronicle your process of making meaning as you read the book. Then you will
meet in your small groups for a group discussion where you will talk about what you have
read/written about.
Writing In-Class Book Club Journals
As you read your book outside of class, you should jot down notes in the margin so you can
return to these notes to write your journal in class. In this journal (again, an in-class writing),
you should be talking about what you think is important to understanding what the author is
doing in this text. Where do you think the author is going, and, perhaps even more importantly,
what do you think this book is ultimately about (in other words, what do you think the theme
is)? You are all rather advanced English majors. This is work you should be used to. And it is
truly informal reflection meant to guide discussion.
What to do During Book Club
1. Share your written responses.

2. Just plain talk about the book. Figure out what you dont understand. Try to come to a
group consensus about what you think the book is all about. Find proof in the text to
support it. Argue a little, in a spirited but civil kind of way. Try to enjoy yourselves.

3. Write a group report (one report per group). Tell me what you talked about. Tell me if
you came to an agreement about what you think the book is about. Tell me if you didnt
come to an agreement and who believes what. Tell me what got cleared up during group

discussion, what got confusing. This is handwritten and very informal and about a half a
page and should be turned in at the end of each book club.
Journal Cover Letter
When you are finished reading the book, you will write a two-page, typed, cover letter that
analyzes:
how you made predictions as you read through the text and ultimately came to a final
conclusion about the text--what you noticed about this process in terms of some of the
supplementary reading we'll have discussed;
what you noticed about your own set of reading practices, again, considering the
supplementary reading well have discussed;
what role writing played in either of the above;
what you noticed about conversation and your group experience and your understanding
of the text.
what you noticed about how my comments on your journals affected any part of this
experience.
Book Club Presentations
Each group will have fifteen minutes to present the following information:
1. An overview of your book, including no more than two minutes of summary and three
minutes of analysis.

2. A discussion of what theories of reading (as covered in the assigned readings about

reading theory we will discuss in class) helped you as you worked through your text and
participated in book club.

3. A reading/writing assignment you might do with your own students that involves,
writing and reading/understanding the text. Here is an opportunity to be really creative
and remember all the great assignments you enjoyed as students. Enjoy coming up with
the assignment.