It’s been wonderful reading, talking, and connecting during this first year of Girls Leadership Parent & Daughter Book Club. I’m reflecting on some of the lessons I learned, one of which is that there’s more than one right way to book club! Many of you have your own ways of making book club unique and amazing. I’d love to hear your tips, so please share them in the comments.
The more festive the meetings are, the more parents and daughters will look forward to this time. My daughter often likes to break out the fancy tea cups when we host meetings. I’ve heard of some clubs making treats inspired by the books they’ve read.
Allot twenty minutes or so for catching up at the beginning of the meeting, then begin your book talk. Setting a timer might be helpful or, in some groups, the host parent/daughter pair takes responsibility for kicking off the conversation by posing the first discussion question.
There is no minimum time requirement for book talk. The amount of time you spend discussing the book will depend on several factors, including the girls’ ages, stamina, and their excitement level for the particular book. Thirty to forty-five minutes of book talk is a good goal, but some groups will have to work up to that.
Try to make time – maybe after the girls’ attention for book talk has waned – for parents to talk amongst themselves. It’s fun to compare parenting notes and ask each other’s advice. Connecting with other parents is one of the greatest benefits of the Parent & Daughter Book Club. We hope you are building a support network that you can enjoy and depend on for life!
Practice making space for everyone to contribute. “Do you have any thoughts?” or “I’d love to hear what you think about this question,” are two ways to invite quieter people into the conversation.
Make a rule that anyone can “pass” during book talk. It takes some people one or two meetings to warm up to the idea of speaking in front of the group. Book Club should feel like a safe place for that confidence to emerge naturally.
Silence can be useful. It gives people – especially shy ones – time to consider their words. Sometimes people panic when the room gets quiet, and they want to fill the void. In your group, try to model being okay with a few moments of silence.
Make sure you gently remind girls to be good at sharing and at listening. And parents should model good listening, too.
Keep copies of the book handy as you discuss. You might read your favorite passages out loud to each other, check the book to find the answer to a question, or find a few lines to support your ideas.
Disagreeing about ideas during book talk is absolutely fine. Readers frequently have differing interpretations of a story, which is part of why reading alongside other readers is so interesting. And, these disagreements can model healthy conflict for our girls. Practice using phrases such as, “I see the story/character differently,” and “I enjoyed hearing your take on that. My interpretation is different…”
Parents, suppress the urge to rescue your daughter at the first sign she is struggling to express herself. Sometimes a person has to wobble a little before she finds her balance! Show that you believe in her abilities by giving her room to practice being a leader in this safe space.
Schedule your next meeting before you go. Make sure you keep in touch over the next few months! Try putting a few get-togethers on the calendar so that your bond stays strong between now and next year’s first meeting.
Did you miss the first year of Parent & Daughter Book Club? It’s not too late to get exclusive content on building community with other parents and letting girls practice leadership skills. We provided meeting guides and discussion questions for 6 books this year.
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