Submitted by Ms. Kanter and Ms. Sussmann
One morning in late October, the third graders arrived and followed their usual morning routine. They read their morning message. But this message had something unusual. It said that there would be an exciting announcement at morning meeting and that we would be having a community morning meeting with the whole grade to announce it. The students were abuzz, trying to guess amongst themselves and asking the teachers for clues. After a few minutes, both classes gathered in one of the classrooms in a large circle and morning meeting began.
Finally, it was time for news and announcements. Students heard about their schedule for the day and then were told they were about to hear about something they would have the opportunity to do that was brand new to the 3rd grade. They heard about the fun that adults have when they get together for a book club and were told that they would soon have the opportunity to have a real book club … on a cold December night … with their parents. They were invited to wear their pajamas and were told that the evening would end with milk and cookies. Smiles were seen around the room as kids began to chatter with excitement.
Finally, Wednesday, December 7th arrived, and it was time for the parent-child book club. Parents and children arrived with their books ready to discuss the book Frindle written by Andrew Clements. After a few minutes of gathering and chatting, parents and children went to their assigned rooms. There were so many people that participated that we needed to use 5 classrooms to hold 5 book clubs.
Parent volunteers were the book club leaders. They were provided with a discussion guide, and they led their group in conversations about the book. Members shared what they liked, what surprised them and other thoughts they had while reading. It was a time when they could hear new insights and express their own opinions. It was clear that both adults and children really enjoyed the book and then having a discussion with others about it.
At the end of the meeting time, each club pulled a raffle winner who was then able to choose a book to take home. After all book clubs finished their lively conversations, everyone met back together for milk and cookies and smiles. It was a wonderful evening that brought 3rd graders, their parents and their teachers together in the spirit of shared literacy as a Dwight-Englewood community.