I’ve written before about the independent book discussion groups my students have begun in at our school library (see Two Ways I’m Using Our School Library).

They’ve been going quite well.

These are groups of students who go to our school library once or twice each week during the 20 minute independent reading time we have in class. There, the librarian has graciously agreed to supervise them, but they’re basically on their own.

The group who are potential candidates for the International Baccalaureate program are reading Bless Me Ultima, and have a series of specific questions they need to answer.

However, two other groups — one reading Always Running by Luis Rodriguez and the other Journey To The Center Of The Earth — are following these book discussion group guidelines (you can download them here as a hand-out). I thought readers might find them helpful, and I’m interested in hearing suggestions to make them better:

1) When you arrive at the library, please check-in with the librarian. Make sure she/he has a seating chart with your names.

2) Each person shares the one or two sentence summary they wrote about the chapter or chapters they were to read. Discuss which one you like the best and why.

3) Each person shares the connection (“this makes me remember….”) they wrote about the chapter or chapters they were to read. Please ask at least one question about each connection.

4) Each person shares the question they wrote about the chapter. Discuss what you think the answers might be to each one.

5) Each person shares what their favorite part or parts of the chapter was/were, and why they liked it.

6) Each person makes a prediction. What do you think will happen next in the story and why? Do you agree?

7) Decide as a group what chapters you will read by the next meeting.

8)Thank the librarian and return to class.

Students love being able to do independent work, and I’ve been shocked at seeing how some reluctant readers have become so enthusiastic about being in the groups. A few who never really stuck to any book before are reading at every opportunity now.

I’ll look forward to feedback on the guidelines…

I’ve found a list on the Web titled Bloom’s Taxonomy Book Review Questions. To tell you the truth, the questions aren’t the greatest, but the idea of giving students a list of questions related to Bloom’s and giving them their choice of which ones they discuss is a good one. I’m going to revise this list, but also wanted to know if anybody knew of better ones already out there that are specifically related to books.