A Fun Book Club Just For Boys
Where there is drudgery, what can be done to make it fun? That’s the question Laura Blum asked herself to get her son Hugh to improve his reading. The answer was Book Club 4 Boys.
The club meets for about an hour once a month.
“The first 20 minutes is a physical activity,” Blum says. “Then once the boys release that excitement, they are ready for a snack and some discussion about the book. They’ll do the reading so they can have the fun.”
For example, they read Million Dollar Shot by Dan Gutman, about a boy who wins a poetry contest and gets to take a foul shot at an NBA game for a chance to win $1 million. For physical activity, they played basketball games from the book.
“It relates to the book and gets the energy out,” she adds.
During physical activity there is an incentive game where questions about the book are asked, and the boys are rewarded if they get it right. Snack time starts at the dining room table, and then the group goes more into detail about the book’s plot and what they liked and didn’t like. Sometimes even the snack is related to the book.
“I’ve learned over the years that hosting a book club for boys is a little different than for girls,” she says. “I start out with only the amount of boys that can fit at my table.”
Making things fun is something she does with the entire family, which includes her husband H. Brian Blum, and their four sons Hugh, 12; Hunter, 9; Hatrick, 6, and Heath, 3.
Blum started Book Club 4 Boys when a teacher suggested that Hugh might have to repeat first grade because of his reading. Then in 2004 her friends didn’t let them join a mommy-daughter book club, so she created her own book club for boys. By 2006, Hugh was reading at two grade levels higher than his class.
She posted the book club information online, and in 2008 Family Fun Magazine spotlighted her in its publication. Soon book publishers started contacting her to advertise on her website.
Each month she reviews books on the website. There are four types of books she reviews. There is story time for the preschooler; books for the beginning reader, from kindergarten to first grade; the independent reader in second to fourth grade; and the confident reader in fifth grade and above. She gives the Biggest BELCH Award to books with lots of action that boys, who are reluctant readers, will like. There are other books good for field trips, movies or that go with Boy Scout activities.
She invites parents who blog their book club activities to post a link to her Web site’s Round Up section so families can access a collection of ideas.
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