The Book Love Foundation Summer Book Club: supporting teachers, supporting learning by Penny Kittle, Clare Landrigan, Fran McVeigh

I feel a tug on the back of my dress as I walk down the hall to debrief with the first-grade team of teachers. I shift my stance wondering if I somehow caught my hem on something. Then I hear her voice.

Miss Clare.

I turn and see her small fingers wrapped tightly around the bottom of my dress. Her eyes meet mine.

Miss Clare.


I stop, turn and kneel down to meet her gaze.

I didn’t get a chance to say why book clubs were important to me.  You didn’t call on me and I want you to know.

I wait.

That poet, Eloise, her poem about her mama. I have big feelings about that poem. I wasn’t ready to talk about it when you had us turn and talk. I wasn’t ready to share during our class discussion.  But my book club, my book club is what I needed. You see, the poet used the word was when she talked about her mama. My mom doesn’t live with me. I don’t see her. I needed to talk about the word was. I shared this with my book club. I cried.  They cried. We cried together. I think that is what is important about book clubs.

My eyes are full and they do not waver from hers.

The people are what matters in book clubs. I mean, isn’t everything we read better when we talk about it with each other?

She makes her way back to her classroom, leaving footprints on my heart.


This young reader reminds us of the importance of connecting with others around books. It is a human trait to need others and a human right to grapple with big ideas in the company of others. Discussing our ideas, thoughts, and feelings about a book with others is essential for all lifelong readers. Book clubs matter because everything has more meaning when we talk about it with other readers.

Teachers need opportunities to talk about books as well… and what better way than in a summer book club with educators from across the world?  Join us this summer for the Book Love Foundation Summer Book Club!

Here are the Top Ten Reasons You Should Join Us for the Book Love Foundation Summer Book Club 2019 right now…

  1. Be a Wild Reader! Our Summer Book Club connects you to colleagues and gives you the opportunity to grow your thinking around supporting readers. You will be inspired to begin courageous conversations in your classrooms and with other teachers.

  2. DIY PD: It’s all about flexibility! Join one club, join two clubs, join live, catch up via the archive … it is completely up to you!  We know you are busy and need some downtime in the summer, so drop in when you want and the archive will be there when it is convenient for you.

  3. Authors LIVE!!: We have 12 Facebook Live events scheduled. You will have an opportunity to interact with authors and use these recorded sessions with your students during the school year. (And there will be surprise Facebook Live events, too!)

  4. Did we mention you get two book club discussions for the price of one? This is an amazing opportunity to consider how readers develop throughout their K-12 journey.

  5. Hit the Ground Running in the Fall: Discussions will be led by classroom teachers, staff developers, and Book Love Foundation grant winners. Varied educational expertise from across the country and around the world will give us an opportunity to collaborate and share ideas, tips, and practical applications for reaching all readers. Together we work smarter.

  6. Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Doors: We need to look at our classroom libraries through the eyes of our students. We grow as readers and thinkers when we read a diverse range of experiences. Reading, discussing and sharing #ownstories will ensure that all children are represented in our book collections.

  7. Reflect on the Nuts and Bolts of Your Book Clubs: How do you use your reader’s notebook in a book club? Have you tried digital response with your students’ book clubs? Listening to other teachers helps us revise our current practices.

  8. Connect Throughout the Year: The Facebook page is open all year so you can connect with colleagues as you implement new learning, problem solve issues, need book recommendations, and celebrate successes.

  9. Find a Book Club partner in a classroom far from yours. Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher have written about connecting their students across the country in book clubs (180 Days). You will meet teachers this summer who are eager to connect with you and your students. Imagine the possibilities!

  10. And most importantly, our summer book club funds classroom libraries! Every dollar of profit goes to teacher libraries. Our 2019 goal is to fund 75 grants (out of more than 400 applications) which was unimaginable when the foundation began in 2012. Because of the generosity of teachers and authors, we are changing the world, one reader at a time. Be a part of this important mission! Join us at And happy reading! Happy summer!