Book Clubs in Middle School and High School: Critical Reading Across Fiction and Nonfiction

Wednesday, January 20 - Friday, January 22, 2021
Institute will be offered virtually through Zoom.

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Grade: 6-12
Hours: 11am-5pm Eastern Standard Time
Featuring: Mary Ehrenworth, Kat Schechter, Philip Seyfried, and Katy Wischow
Payment: Purchase orders for this institute can be made out to: Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, 525 W 120th Street, Box 77, New York, NY 10027

The Book Club Institute is back by popular demand! Book clubs are the perfect forum for harnessing the social energy of adolescents while motivating them to read 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—English, Social Studies, and Humanities—who want their students to be more powerful readers and lovers of books, as well as adept researchers.

The institute will engage with contemporary literature, nonfiction studies of contemporary social issues, and critical literacies. 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. If you wish your students were more adept at immersing themselves in nonfiction research, and making connections between literature and the world, this institute is for you. Whether you’re hoping to run historical fiction, science fiction, or nonfiction book clubs, this institute will help you gain the skills and practice the methods to make those powerful.

There will be sections for high school teachers and sections for middle school teachers, so that whether you teach AP literature or teach sixth grade book clubs, you can be with colleagues.

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 intense, productive book clubs. You’ll think through the major skills of reading and how you can help students synthesize, analyze complex characters and places, discern themes and how they are developed, and become 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 aggressive club member, the club that’s done in two minutes. For each scenario, you’ll learn coaching and conferring tips to harness students’ strengths and develop their academic identities.

Part of the work of the institute will be to consider the role of writing about reading, from annotation to reading notebooks, in order to develop analytical 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, whether they are researching nonfiction texts and topics, or engaging with literature. Join us to turn book clubs, reading, research, and social bonds around reading into a force that may change students’ reading lives forever.


$650/$600 NYC DOE


This institute will be offered online, in real-time via Zoom, and will not be recorded for later distribution. We will accept attendees until the institute has reached capacity.