How-To: Get a Book Club Started...and Keep it Going

Tips for Teens about Starting a Successful Book Club

1. Find a group

Book clubs are a great way to connect with your friends and to meet new people! Get started by gathering a few friends or ask around to see if anyone is interested in joining a book club, 4-12 members is an excellent size for a book group. You'll need enough people for a lively discussion, but not so many that it will be hard to organize and prevent people from talking.

2. Establish how the book club will be run

It's important to be organized! Once you have all the details your group will run more smoothly. Start by asking questions, like:

  • How often will your book club meet?
  • Will you have a leader?
  • Where will you meet?
  • Do the members of your book club have other activities like sports or school groups that you'll need to plan around?

3. Determine what your group wants to read

This can be the most exciting—and frustrating part! Once you've gathered a group, discuss what kinds of books you would like to read. Remember that it will be hard to pick a book that everyone will love, but it's important to compromise and try to pick something everyone is interested in. Some groups let members take turns picking books, others allow everyone to make books suggestions and then draw a title randomly. But just try to remember that this is a great opportunity to share a book, or try a new one!

How to prepare to Discuss a Book with a Book Club

1. Read carefully

Take your time reading the book. Get to know the characters and pay attention to details. Try to keep an open mind and look at the book from as many different perspectives as possible.

2. Take notes

Taking notes can help you to remember passages that were particularly meaningful or that helped you understand the book. Notes may be simple bits of information or whole passages you might want to share! When discussing the book later, your notes will be a valuable part of the discussion and will help you feel prepared. Post-it notes are a great way to mark pages and write notes without loosing your place.

3. Questions, questions, questions

Asking questions is a big part of preparing for a book discussion. There are often more questions than answers, but a good book discussion will focus on asking difficult questions and trying to answer them. For example, you might ask:

  • What is the author trying to say?
  • Does the book have a message?
  • Are problems or issues resolved?
  • How is the book written and what is the style?
  • Who are the characters and what do they want?

How to keep your book club discussion fun and friendly

1. Come prepared

Bring your notes or questions about the book. These will provide easy talking points for you to join the discussion and share your thoughts. Plus it's easier to speak up, when you are prepared!

2. Speak up

Don't be afraid to share your opinions! Speaking up and joining the conversation is what makes book discussions so exciting—everyone has a chance to take part and share their own unique point of view.

3. Remember to listen

Just as it's important to speak up, it's equally important to listen! Don't interrupt someone else, and make sure everyone gets a chance to speak. A good book discussion should allow each participant to have a considerate audience when sharing.

4. Thoughtfulness

Be thoughtful when discussing, you might not agree with what someone else thinks, but they have the right to respectfully share their opinion! It's helpful to remember that there are many points of view and every question may have different answers for different people. Just because you don't agree with someone, doesn't mean they’re wrong! It's okay to disagree in a friendly, respectful manner!

5. Have fun!

You might want to bring snacks, take time to play a short game, or plan a fun activity for your group that relates to the book. Most of all, remember that your book club should be a time to share your thoughts and feelings about a book and have a good time with new and old friends.

Book discussion resources you might want to check-out