How to Start a Family Book Club

by Melissa Taylor

Photo credit: Sebastian Pfuetze, Taxi/ Getty Images

Oprah has one. Your neighbors have one. But have you ever thought about having your own family book club?

Seriously. It’s such a blast. And it’s not just for kids who are elementary school age either. Even your youngest kids can participate.

The idea is that everyone in your family reads the same book, just like in an adult book club. Then, you gather to discuss and do activities. This makes reading social and engaging, setting the tone for a lifelong passion for reading. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to spend time together, bond, and discuss interesting topics.

Here’s how to make it happen:

1. Pick the Book
Take turns picking a book (unless your family has children who are too little to choose). Keep in mind that you’ll want to have multiple copies of the book. 

2. Set the Schedule
Decide when your family book club will meet. If your selected book is a chapter book, give all family members enough time to read and finish the book. For children who are beginning readers, adults or older children should read the book aloud to them.

3. Prepare for the Meeting
You’ll want to plan for the following:

  • Food
  • Discussion questions
  • Activities
  • Decorations (if any)

4. Let Book Club Begin
For babies and toddlers, Chrissy Watson, The Outlaw Mom, suggests that you read books together and talk about the stories. The goal of this snuggly family book club time is to share a lovely experience reading and enjoying books.

Jodie Rodriguez, of Growing Book by Book, organizes a monthly Family Dinner Book Club for her preschool-aged children with a themed menu, table decorations, and conversation starters. What’s more, she provides all the planning and activities free for anyone online to download. Some of the books they’ve read as a family include The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

And there are so many more ways to host a family book club:

  • One family member can make up discussion questions and lead the discussion (take turns).
  • Search Pinterest for book-themed activities or crafts.
  • Go see the movie of the book you’ve read.
  • Make a new page in your family book club scrapbook.
  • Go to an author signing at a bookstore.
  • Eat foods related to the book.

No matter what you do, you’ll be having fun together. That’s what counts.

“When we share the experience of reading with our children, books create a garden, a special sunlit corner where our relationship can grow alongside, but apart from, the crowded landscape of everyday life.”
– Shireen Dodson, The Mother-Daughter Book Club