Ready. Set. Read.

Whether your girl loves to read or you’d love to see your girl read more, a book club can help. Not sure where to begin? Follow these five tips to help kick off her first reading meeting.

Select a Structure

To adults, book clubs may conjure up thoughts of girls’ nights, discussing novels over wine and hors d’oeuvres. Obviously, your daughter’s gathering will look quite different—and might not be a gathering at all. Together, decide on a direction that sounds most fun. Here are a few ideas: a parent-daughter book night; a Saturday afternoon meeting with children from her class; a Sunday book brunch with the whole family; or an online club with a long-distance friend or relative.

Invite Others to Read

If you plan to make it a family-based book club, then your guest list is pretty well set. However, if the group will include other children, there’s a little more to consider:

  • Reading level: The book club will likely run more smoothly if everyone is at a similar reading level. Talk with the parents of other children to find out what kinds of books their kids are into before deciding who to include.
  • Parental involvement: If you’re concerned about excluding children who struggle with reading, include the parents in the book club so that they are reading the book together.
  • Genre: Kids can be particular about the type of books they want to read for fun. Try to make sure book club members have similar interests, or are open to trying new things.

Break the Ice

Bringing a new group together can be awkward—no matter what age. Help everyone feel more comfortable with an icebreaker activity. Base it on the book, and have each person share who her favorite character was, and why. Or add some movement and turn it into a game of charades.

Make It More Than a Discussion

Keeping your child or a group of children’s interest is probably going to require more than sitting in a circle and talking about a book for an hour. Put on your child hat, and think about ways to make the book discussion more activity-based. For example, pass out old magazines and have the kids rip out words or pictures to add to a group collage. Have each person explain how her collage piece relates to the book. If there was a game played in the book, add it to the event’s to-do time.

Pick the Next Book Together

As the book club host, you and your daughter may have selected the first book, but be sure to enlist the help of the other readers when it comes time to picking the next. Librarians and teachers often have helpful lists available. And of course, American Girl has many character stories within our BeForever™ and Girl of the Year™ lines, as well as advice books that would make great additions. Looking to read something new? Our new historical character, Melody Ellison, combines the Motown music of the 1960s with the historical perspective of the civil rights movement.