Book clubs in­spire stu­dents’ love of read­ing

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

Wed­nes­day morn­ings at Mary H. Mat­ula Ele­men­tary School are booked. From 8:30 to 9 a.m., more than 60 stu­dents take part in be­fore-school book clubs. Open to stu­dents in kinder­garten through fifth grade, the pro­gram was born out of an idea of Tina Caron, learn­ing re­source teacher, and Nina Oga­sawara, school coun­selor, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease.

They no­ticed how kids don’t seem to en­joy read­ing, not even for plea­sure. “They need to see teach­ers who love read­ing,” Oga­sawara said in the re­lease. They brought up the idea of start­ing book clubs dur­ing a staff meet­ing and teach­ers took on nine dif­fer­ent groups. The six-week ses­sion fo­cuses on a theme for younger stu­dents, and a book for older ones.

The clubs are a no-stress sit­u­a­tion for young read­ers. “There are no tests,” Caron said. “We read for en­joy­ment.”

The Bil­lion­aire Boys are read­ing “Trou­ble Maker,” by Andrew Cle­ments. The group of fourth and fifth grade boys meet over dough­nuts and talk about the book with Marvin Jones, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of schools.

“I like read­ing” Dar­rius Ma­son, a fifth grader said. “And I like to share our ex­pe­ri­ences with the book.”

“It’s good to catch up and talk about a book we have all read,” Patrick Takeuchi, a fifth grade stu­dent said.

Ryan Hughes, a fourth grader, is in the Mad Sci­ence group led by sci­ence teacher Chuck Larkin, Judi Gor­don, in­struc­tional re­source teacher and Blonda Till­man, read­ing re­source teacher. The club doesn’t read books, but it does go over and per­form ex­per­i­ments like mak­ing cot­ton candy. Hughes’s fa­vorite au­thor is Dav Pilkey, writer of the “Cap­tain Un­der­pants” series. “It helps your brain to grow,” Hughes said of read­ing. “You’re read­ing new words and con­text clues.”

The next round of book club meet­ings will start in Fe­bru­ary with one hav­ing an ocean theme, an­other fo­cus­ing on the Harry Pot­ter se­quels and one tack­ling Percy Jack­son books.

Teach­ers choose the books their clubs will read and stu­dents can pick what club they want to be­long to. Now that the word is out about the clubs, Oga­sawara thinks they’ll see an uptick in par­tic­i­pa­tion next month.


Han­son Tay­lor, a fifth-grade stu­dent at Mary H. Mat­ula Ele­men­tary School, is a mem­ber of the book club, Bil­lion­aire Boys. The group meets on Wed­nes­day morn­ings to dis­cuss the group’s se­lec­tion, “Trou­ble Maker.”

Mary H. Mat­ula Ele­men­tary School sec­ond graders, Claire Mitchell, left, and Con­cetta Zyg­munt, write their own fairy­tales based on the “Frac­tured Fairy­tales” they read in their book club.

Read­ing re­source teacher Blonda Till­man, right, mans the cot­ton candy ma­chine for the “Mad Sci­ence” book club at Mary H. Mat­ula Ele­men­tary School. The group meets once a week be­fore school to study and per­form ex­per­i­ments.

Dar­rius Ma­son, a fifth grader at Mary H. Mat­ula Ele­men­tary School, enjoys read­ing for fun and join­ing a book club lets him to dis­cuss sto­ries with friends who have read the same books.

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