Three times a week, before the creative writing portion of that day’s programming begins, four to six students come to the Creative Youth Center for Book Club. Book Club students meet one-on-one with an adult reading tutor and read from 3:30 to 4:15 before participating in that day’s creative writing programming. Each student is paired with their tutor and given time to read and experience literature. This enables students to learn literacy skills, and become passionate about reading, while also discovering what they like and don’t like. Students are empowered to select which book they want to read, which allows them to be more engaged. By being encouraged to read a book of their choosing, and receiving guidance when necessary, students ultimately begin to locate their own thoughts and opinions on writing in general. They are then more equipped to find themselves and their own stories once they have been exposed to the impactful stories of others. As the age groups vary from first and second graders, to third through fifth graders, there is a range of accessible and quality reading to choose from. Some of that material is pictured here.
Book Club and its mission might remind one of the following quote: Children’s author Katherine Paterson, creator of Bridge to Terabithia and other books, said “It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations– something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.” The CYC’s Book Club embodies this quote, as it is a program that not only helps children to enjoy good books, but also helps them makes sense of the world around them and the people they love. In this way, students’ voices are celebrated at the CYC, not just as students create their own writing, but also as they respond to the writing of others.