Running a pupil book club around the Scottish Teenage Book Prize shortlist is a great way to get pupils engaged in reading. Being part of a book club encourages teens to try new genres, read books they wouldn't usually pick up, and have their voice heard by taking part in the national vote.
First of all, you need to consider the logistics of setting up a pupil book club.
- Where will you hold the meeting?
- What time works best for pupils?
- Where will you advertise and attract members?
- How will you include pupils in the running of the book club?
Another consideration might be the structure of your club. For example:
- How many copies of the shortlist do you have access to and how will these be shared?
- Will you focus on a particular book at each meeting or have broader activities depending on where pupils are up to with each title?
- Will you set a deadline for all the books to be read by? Remember, pupils must cast their votes by 25 March 2022.
Ideas to keep pupils coming back
Many schools and libraries successfully run book clubs on the Scottish Teenage Book Prize each year. Here are a few examples of what might work in your setting.
Get pupils involved!
Preston Lodge High School in East Lothian worked with pupils to establish what they wanted from a book group and let pupils decided the name (The PL Page Turners). To recruit new members, they used registration slides, social media and newsletters. The group decided to read the Scottish Teenage Book Prize shortlist and used the resources available to encourage discussion of the books. They also watched the author videos and contacted the authors with their questions on the books.
Try different formats
Many schools moved their book clubs online during lockdown throughout 2020 and 2021. For example, Arbroath High School in Angus moved their meeting online during lockdown and met monthly to discuss what they were reading. They introduced audiobooks that were available for free and easy to access for members. Even though most pupils are back in school, is there an element of digital engagement you would like to keep as part of the book club? Speak to pupils and find out what their preference is for accessing books in different formats.
Explore different activities
Reading is important to a book group, but it does not need to be the sole focus. Other activities can be introduced to help pupils enjoy the shortlist and exploring the books.
During the last year, Paisley Grammar School in Renfrewshire found restrictions meant they couldn't run their book club as usual. So the librarian delivered books and spoke regularly to pupils outside of the library the book they were reading. Pupils were given opportunities to use arts and crafts, draw pictures and even write their own stories to share their thoughts and feelings on the book. These could be shared around the school and helped raise awareness of the book group to other pupils.
Don't forget to explore the Scottish Teenage Book Prize shortlist and cast your vote before Friday 25 March 2022.