Book Clubs in Middle and High School: The Art of Engaging Teens with Close Reading and Literary Conversations across Fiction and Nonfiction

Monday, November 13 — Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Grade: 6-8 and 9-12
Featuring: Mary Ehrenworth, Emily Strang Campbell, and Heather Burns

Book clubs are the perfect forum for harnessing the social energy of adolescents while motivating them to read more closely, to write about their reading with more authenticity, and to talk about books with increased focus and zeal. This institute is for middle and high school teachers who want their students to be more powerful readers and lovers of literature. If you wish your students read more closely, or want them to understand the power of annotation, or you hope to develop their literary discourse, this institute is for you. There will be sections for high school teachers, and sections for middle school teachers, so that if you teach AP literature or teach sixth grade book clubs, you can be with your colleagues. We will be reading historic fiction with related nonfiction, and social studies teachers are welcome to attend as well.

Come ready to read, practice instructional methods, and work on coaching students from the sidelines. At this institute, you’ll be in a book club yourself, you’ll experience ways to lift the level of students’ reading practices, and you’ll rehearse instruction to take back to your classroom. As part of this, you’ll discover how to structure book clubs so they are intense and productive. You’ll think through the major skills of reading to synthesize, analyzing complex characters and places, discerning themes and how they are developed, and becoming alert to author’s craft. Then, too, you’ll learn how to teach into talk itself, to consider potential roadblocks: the quiet club member, the talk-hog, the club that’s done in two minutes. For each scenario, you’ll learn coaching and conferring tips to shift the club into higher gear.

Part of the work of the institute will be to consider the role of writing about reading, from annotation, to reading notebooks, to more formal literary essays and other genres that develop analytic skills. You’ll learn how to use clubs to give kids reasons to write, and how to use skill progressions to help students raise the level of their writing about reading.

Join us to turn book clubs, reading, and social bonds around reading into a force that may change students’ reading lives forever.

This institute is for ELA and humanities teachers and literacy coaches in grades 6-12. There will be sections for middle school and for high school teachers, with specific content related to these grade levels.


$650/ $600 NYC DOE


This institute will take place at the Teachers College campus.
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W 120th Street
New York, NY