I have two versions of my book discussion training. This one is the 3 hour version where I give a detailed lecture about the entire process of running a book club, beginning with the intention to do it through to actually leading a discussion. The second half is a discussion itself.
What I like about this method for the students is that we can take time to discussion the theory but then we get to see it in action. I also remind the students that attending this class means that you can say on your resume that you have been trained in running book discussions. And, they can also say that they have participated in a professionally led discussion. Also, I highly suggest that when students go out into the real world and lead a discussion with patrons that they use the book we did in class because then they have an idea of how it will go. I did this back in January of 2001, leading 3 people in a discussion of A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, which was the book I did with Ted Balcom when I was a student in GSLIS 763 back in the last century.
I also do training for book club participants, whether they meet in the library or not. This is aimed toward book groups who have lost their mojo. Called, Recharge Your Book Club, you can access the handouts and resource sheets here. This presentation focuses more on how to re-establish ground rules to make the actual discussion more fun. It also includes tips on picking better books. Tip #1, do not let the randomly assigned leader choose their favorite book. Click here for more.
One of my favorite book discussion resources is Lit Lovers. Recently, I found 2, new to me, pages on their very useful site:
- How to Discuss A Book: This page has tips for leaders and participants.
- Read-Think-Talk About a Book: This handy chart can be printed out and placed in your book to help you consider the larger picture while you are reading.
Lit Lovers encourages you to share their resources as long as you tell people where you got them, which I have done.
Check out my handouts too and let me know if you have book club tips and tricks to share.