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Fifth Grade Book Club: The Impact on Students

S.A.
At the start of the second semester, Fifth Grade English Teacher Elaine Juran launched the Head & Heart Book Club. The book club was created not only as a platform to strengthen students' reading skills but also to teach students how to think critically, express their ideas, and engage in robust group discussions with their peers. Each book club meets twice a week and reads Newbery winners or novels recognized for their literary quality. 

Elaine Juran shares more about the importance of book clubs and the impact clubs have on students.

Picture small groups of young learners gathered together on a rug or around a table, under their club banner, in a cozy nook, or by a whiteboard. There is a sense of purposefulness and positive energy as students collectively unpack the grand and subtle meaning of a novel. What have we learned about the main character given the latest surprising turn of events? What do you think the author meant by this? What do you think the main character’s motivation was? What theme is the author conveying? 

In addition to learning important lessons about how books work and building engagement around books, book clubs provide a wonderful opportunity for fifth grade students to hone various social-emotional skills, such as empathy, perspective-taking, optimism, and self-confidence. Book clubs also allow students to see themselves in a text and examine their own lives on a deeper level. New theories are floated, and new connections are made. In short, book clubs provide a social context to learn how to listen actively, build upon one another’s understanding, and make sure that every voice is heard in a nurturing collaborative environment. 
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St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.