How can you bring the digital fun to reading and make it a more exciting alternative to playing video games? Setting up a virtual book club can be a great way to get kids reading – with the promise of seeing their friends and the excitement of helping to prepare for the event as extra motivation.
Social distancing can be hard on kids used to seeing their friends and getting out of the house – but a book club can provide the double escape of a good story... and a party to share it.
Here’s how you can host your own virtual kids’ book party in 6 easy steps:
1. Designate the host of the book party.
It starts with you, but why not get everyone to take a turn? Name your successor!
2. Choose a book.
Try and pick a book that you know most children will find funny. This will help break the ice. Make sure your child is involved in the choice of choosing a book. Ask them what they think their friends will like. You will need to choose a book that most people have or is readily available in a digital format. Amazon is running behind on orders these days.
We asked our trusty teacher ambassadors for some book suggestions, and they didn’t disappoint. To name a few of their suggested authors: Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, Julia Donaldson, Onjali Q Raúf, Louis Sacher. Mrs Wordsmith also has a great word book with pages of funny cartoons and advanced vocabulary for kids aged 4-7 to talk about, called My Epic Life Word Book.
3. Send invites.
Make this into an activity by getting kids to help you design the invitations. Make sure to include time, info about the book, and videoconference-joining details. And it’s a party, so make it pretty!
The fastest thing to do is to send a text with emoji and a funny message. You or older kids can use one of many free online invitation makers to design invites, and younger kids can art-direct over your shoulder. Too complicated? Have kids draw invites themselves and then you can send photos of them.
4. Ask everyone to come up with one question to ask the group about the book...
...ahead of the book party.
Again, kids can help! Encourage them to think about what things the book made them wonder about.
Some examples for inspiration that go beyond “what was your favourite part?”:
- “What do you think happens to the characters after the book is over?”
- “Who was your favourite character?”
- “How would you change the story if you were the author?”
- “Did you know what was going to happen? Why or why not?”
- “What was the funniest/scariest/most exciting/happiest part?”
- “Would this make a good film?”
- “What was the best new word you learned?”
5. Set up and make sure the conferencing runs smoothly.
The child host is in charge of moderating! This is a great time to learn some cute leadership skills. Be prepared to make sure only one person speaks at once and that everyone else’s microphone is muted – most conferencing software allows you to have control over this.
6. It’s party time!
Rustle up some snacks, get cozy, and settle your kids in to talk about what they liked and didn’t like about the book, and then take turns asking their questions!
Spice up your videoconference visuals by having kids create a costume that represents something from the book using items from around the house. Get creative! Kids will love looking into their friends’ living rooms and seeing what everyone else came up with.