While we celebrate reading specifically on Read Across America Day, WCS middle and high school book clubs are fostering a love of reading in students all year long.
All middle and high school students may participate in the clubs. The meetings are a mixture of in-person and Zoom calls to include any WCS student who finds joy in reading.
The various clubs cover many genres, and students have the opportunity to read books they may have never picked up on their own. That’s one of the reasons WCS Online sixth grader Josh Naylor says he wanted to join the club in the first place.
“I really love reading,” said Josh. “To be able to discuss the books with the librarians and other students has helped me to think about the content differently.”
The clubs host author conversations that allow students to ask questions to visiting writers. As an aspiring author, Josh takes full advantage of these conversations and learns more about his own writing.
“By hearing these authors talk, I learned that there is a lot of research involved,” said Josh. “Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read, but I think I’ll stick to writing fiction where there aren’t as many details to check.”
Grassland Middle librarian Susan Oldham said the conversation that middle school students had with author Margi Preus was particularly engaging. Her book, The Village of Scoundrels, is based on real events during World War II.
“Students were able to ask the author questions about the research, writing and publishing process as well as what inspired her to write,” said Oldham. “The author invited a World War II survivor whose family her characters were based on to our Zoom call. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to hear from someone whose family sheltered Jewish refugees.”
Although books are the reason for the meetings, instructors say the relationships that have formed between students has been an added bonus.
“The students like the socialization that discussing their reading with new friends offers,” said WCS Online English/Language Arts teacher Lisa Wheeler. “They not only talk about the books we’re reading together, but also other books they think their fellow members would enjoy.”
Students interested in joining a book club may reach out to their English/Language Arts (ELA) teacher for more information.