In the Classroom: Try Adventure Book Clubs With Your Students!

By: OwlCrate Jr

Guest Post: Try Adventure Book Clubs With Your Students! 

Spark Creativity founder, Betsy Potash, guides us on how to successfully run an engaging, adventure story book club for students. 


Trying to find a whole class novel that suits everyone’s tastes can be TOUGH. Luckily, book clubs make it easy to give students choice in their reading while still developing their ELA skills. 

 Why not try adventure book clubs this year? With titles like Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Amari and the Night Brothers, Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun, and Stuntboy in the Meantime (whatever feels right), your students will find a title to get excited about, and you’ll soon be surrounded by happy readers. 

Maybe you’ve thought about doing book clubs in the past, but you just haven’t been sure how to set them up. Let me walk you through it.

On the first day, it’s time to introduce your theme and help your students interact with the book club options. There are a lot of ways to do this. You can quickly pitch the book choices with book talks, try a book tasting, or play book trailer videos like this one.


Let your students choose the books they find most interesting through a sign up of their top choices, then form your book clubs.

 On the first day of meetings, pass out the books, and give students a chance to assign the reading across the days they’ll be meeting. Will you hold book clubs every Monday for six weeks? Every Tuesday and Thursday for four? Let students know the meeting dates and let them decide how to assign their reading. Then you can give them a little time to start reading and hopefully get excited about their texts.

 As you proceed through the book club dates, you have a couple of good structural options, depending on what works best for you and your students. 

 Some teachers like to use specific formal roles for students during each meeting. These roles, like “the facilitator,” “the vocabulary specialist,” “the question brainstormer,” etc, give students a purpose for the meeting and some type of preparatory homework. 

If a student is the vocabulary specialist, for example, maybe they are identifying four unusual words in the reading and bringing in the definitions to share during the club meeting. You can create roles you think would be meaningful in achieving your classroom goals, and at the end of each meeting, students can assign the roles they’ll take on for the next meeting. The roles create a structure for each meeting, as students share what they’ve prepared and those in charge of questions and facilitation run a short discussion. 

While the roles can be effective, they can also feel like busywork to some students. 

An alternative, if this might be the case for your more mature students, is to simply plan activities for each meeting that give students a chance to process the reading. Perhaps one day they’ll create character maps to focus on how characters are being developed, try hexagonal thinking another day, respond to a writing prompt about the text, or run their own discussion based on their own questions. You can focus on whatever you wish as you plan these lessons, students will simply undertake them in small groups, focused on their own text. 

 At the end of your book club unit, let students share what they liked about their books to their classmates with a final project that acts as a teaser. They could create one-pagers to display, literary food trucks, or book trailers. This way you’re encouraging a culture of reading by giving all the kids a chance to get excited about reading the books others have read. 


Want to hear how one middle school teacher found success with book clubs? Check out episode 121 of The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast, “When Lit Circles WORK,” with middle school teacher Krista Barbour. 


This article was written by Betsy Potash. She lives, writes, rollerblades and tries the wildest gelato flavors she can find in Bratislava, Slovakia. Tune in to teaching ideas from Betsy anytime on The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast.