May 4, 2022 | Chloe Ko
In this reading unit, fifth grade students are reading the book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. The book is narrated by the main character, Cassie Logan, who is a 10-year-old girl, living in Mississippi during the Jim Crow Laws and the Great Depression days.
To prepare for book clubs, the class practiced creating questions that would deepen their discussions and understanding of the book during the book club sessions. We called these “author and me” questions. The answers to these questions are not in the book, and students need to use their own knowledge and what the author has told them to come up with the answer.
This week, we started student-led book clubs. There are two roles for every book club meeting: discussion director and vocabulary enricher. The discussion director prepares questions for the book club members to answer. They also listen to the answers and guide the discussion. The vocabulary enricher picks four unfamiliar words from the book and teaches others the definitions. Every student will get a chance to be in each role.
Here is some feedback from students as to how their book clubs went:
“Hearing other people’s opinions was great; it helped me understand the book better.”
“Everyone stayed on topic.”
“It was nice to have others affirm my understanding of the book and the characters.”
“We got to practice looking for textual evidence in the book.”
The great benefits of doing student-led book clubs are that students get to take turns leading and listening. It’s also a great opportunity for students to learn from each other in a smaller group setting. As we continue book clubs, I am excited to see how the fifth grade readers grow!