A Novel Bunch: Chase Elementary Book Club Ignites Love of Reading in Students


Who said book clubs were only for adults? At Chase Elementary, second- and third-grade students have the chance to participate in a book club hosted by second-grade teacher, Ms. Shirley Easley. Ms. Easley started the club during the 2015-16 school year when she first started teaching at Chase Elementary, and it has become a hit among students.

Each school year, Ms. Easley rotates book club participants so every second- and third- grade student can participate. The clubs usually alternate between boys and girls. During the school day, all second-grade students participate in their ELA class with Ms. Easly.

During a book club session, the club reads a few chapters and engages in a think-aloud during and after the reading. The students share how the perceive the book, their favorite parts, how they relate to the characters and incidents that occur in the book, and they identify various ELA and literacy strategies being used.

Last year, the girls read “Judy Moody: Around the World in 8.5 Days” and “Judy Moody: The Big Bad Blackout” by Megan McDonald.

A group of young men read “The Buried Bones Mystery” by Sharon Draper, which is part of the “Ziggy the Black Dinosaur” series. The book became an instant classic and all-time favorite for the group. The students were so excited, they read the novel in four sessions, often reading more chapters than planned in each session. Ms. Easley saw a meaningful opportunity and invited Draper herself to the book club meeting, inspiring the students to use their imaginations and be life-long learners.

The inspiration doesn’t have to just happen in the book. It’s quite common for Ms. Easley to incorporate an educational trip for students as it relates to what they’re reading. One trip included visiting COSI in Columbus to celebrate finishing the book and explore fields found in “The Buried Bones Mystery” such as paleontology and archeology. She also takes students on other career field trips to tie in parts of prominent African-American history and culture that directly impacts the students.

“I could write a book about how phenomenal of a teacher Ms. Easley is,” said Ashanti Dawson, school resource coordinator. “She brings fun and engaging activities stemming from the book club that fosters a passion for learning in her students.”

The book club has become so popular that there is practically a waiting list to participate. Many third-grade students even want to return to the book club as fourth-graders. It has become a great place for all students to harness a love for reading and discussion.

Keep up with all the great things going on at Chase Elementary, a Vision 2020 school, at chase.cps-k12.org.


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