HOW TO HOST A MOCK NEWBERY BOOK CLUB: 10 EASY STEPS by Armin Arethna and Mary Ann Scheuer
Hosting a Mock Newbery Book Club in your school is as easy as 1, 2, 3…..
- Welcome all students–don’t limit to high readers! Choose 4th and 5th grades, or only 5th
- Find two adults to lead book club–librarians or teachers. We have found that having two leaders works best, for our students and for our adults!
- Hold informal weekly (or bi-weekly) meetings, September through January.
- Ask all book club members to come to four formal book club discussions, at lunch recess or after school (in September, November, and twice in January).
- Share books with readers–using bookmarks or stickers to highlight eligible books.
- Post Newbery criteria (we hang this poster) to facilitate short informal discussions.
- Ask students to write down their thoughts on book posters (see this poster from Fish in a Tree). Ask students to choose up to three books to nominate for final discussion.
- Make final nomination list by November 1st, including a diverse range of titles (aim for 10 books). We ask students to nominate books, to give them ownership in the process.
- Facilitate positive, supportive discussions–asking kids to reflect on criteria and compare nominated books. Hold final book club discussions just before the real Newbery committee meets.
- HAVE FUN! Watch the book buzz grow and spread among your readers!
- Mary Ann Scheuer and Armin Arethna have hosted a Mock Newbery Book Club at Emerson School for the past three years. This year, they are expanding the program across Berkeley elementary schools.
- We focus on developing readers, sharing book buzz & talking about books. This is a key opportunity for students to develop identity as a reader, as part of a reading community. We get excited about the Newbery announcements, but our real joy is watching readers grow.
- Think ahead about how you might get funding for new books–through a Donors Choose grant, the PTA or your local library. We use a combination of funding. We only purchase 2-3 copies of each nominated title, so the total cost is about $300-$400 per school.
- This has been a wonderful opportunity to establish a strong relationship between Berkeley Public Library and BUSD teachers, librarians and students.
- Read more about their experience at the ALSC Blog (to be published Monday, August 8th).
Armin Arethna is a children’s librarian at Berkeley Public Library. She served on the 2015 Newbery Committee.
Mary Ann Scheuer is a teacher librarian in Berkeley Unified School District. She writes the blog Great Kid Books.