Jefferson School Book Club


    In an effort to increase reading at Jefferson School, I started a Principals Book Club three years ago. What I learned in the process was that one person couldnt do this alone. Students need a wide variety of genres and the adults leading the book club need to be passionate about all the books they recommend. To expand the book club and make it more accessible I enlisted every staff member on campus. Each staff member was asked to recommend their five favorite books that they felt were appropriate for students with a reading level of fourth through ninth grades. A webpage was created for each staff member to share their top five books with reading level, Accelerated Reader points, and number of pages.


    Students are encouraged to go online and select books from the staff recommendations. When they complete the book they will take the Accelerated Reader quiz and then find the staff member that recommended it. The staff member will ask them a few questions to make sure they read the book and then signoff on their book club form. When a student has read fifteen books from the staff recommendations and ten of their own choice they will earn a field trip in May. Along the way students participating in the book club will be eligible for field trips and raffles.

    Trimester One: 5 staff recommended books and 3 free choice
    Trimester Two: 5 staff recommended books and 4 free choice
    Trimester Three: 5 staff recommended books and 3 free choice

    It is very difficult to select books that span multiple grades. I recommend that parents spend a few minutes reviewing the books suggested for the book club. In addition, I would encourage parents to read the books along with their children.

    Why the Challenge on Reading?

    In my address to the 2006 Graduating Class I challenged students to read at minimum 20 minutes a night for pleasure. I shared with them that to be in the top 10% of their class they must average 20 minutes reading outside of school each day.

    Literacy, the ability to read and write, = Power, access to jobs and education. Literacy is one of the primary factors used to sort populations and control access to power!


    According to the National Institute of Literacy between 21 and 23 percent of the adult population, "can read a little but not well enough to fill out an application, read a food label, or read a simple story to a child."


    Even scarier, in a recent study conducted on reading, over 50% of 5th graders read less than 5 minutes per day outside the classroom.