Parent-child book clubs can be the foundational building blocks of a lifelong love of literature and learning. There are many ways to foster this love – but starting your own family-friendly book club gives you and your child the most benefits. Here’s how to start your own book club!

Book clubs provide the perfect environment for children’s development, both literary and otherwise – they encourage teamwork, foster a child’s ability to listen and react, and create a real sense of community around books. When structured the right way, parent-child book clubs can boost reading comprehension, all the while encouraging critical thinking – skills that come in handy not only at school, but life in general.

When kids can clearly identify the similarities between what happens on the page and in their everyday life, they are better equipped to overcome challenges, empathise with others, and deal with all that life throws at them in a more thought-out way. Overall, book clubs foster more capable children!

Start your own parent-child book club

Finding the right literary activity on the Gold Coast isn’t always easy – compared to bigger cities, we don’t have as many options. Luckily, starting your own parent-child book club is easier than you think, and besides the benefits mentioned above, it will give your family invaluable time together. So let’s get started!

Step 1: Get other families on board

Try inviting other kids that your child is already friends with, or kids that you know enjoy reading as well. It’s best to keep the number of members to a low at the beginning – that way, even the shyest children will get a chance to contribute and feel like part of a community. Reach out to parents and organise a time interval that works for everyone – if once a month is too much for some families, try and aim for more spaced out, but perhaps longer meetups.

Step 2: Set up the club – location and snacks

If there are only a couple of other families involved, you will most likely be able to rotate whose house the book club takes place at each time. If that’s not an option, reach out to your local library – more often than not, they’ll have free rooms that you could hire. Plus, kids might even pick up new books afterwards! It’s a win-win.

The most important part of any book club, however, are the snacks! Those hungry minds need fuel, and we know what great motivator snacks can be when it comes to attending book clubs. If you have the time and motivation, you can always create on-theme snacks with your children pre-club: imagine serving up some Wonka Bars, The Witches’ Trick or Treats, or George's Marvellous Smoothies!

Step 3: Pick a book and jot down some questions

When it comes to book clubs, the book you pick will largely contribute to the success of of your club. Depending on the children’s age, it’s a good idea to pick books that can be compared to real life situations kids would be facing, such as budding friendships, struggles for independence, new responsibilities, or the first tentative steps towards identity searching.

Your book club will work best if it’s totally tailored to one goal – getting your kids excited about reading and committed to finishing a book they actually want to read. Even adults struggle with committing to regular book clubs if the reading material doesn’t interest them. So always think about what would be fun for everyone.

Once you’ve picked a book, it’s a good idea to jot down some conversation starters and questions, to probe even the littlest members into participating. Good basics: Who was your favourite character and why? Did you like the ending or would you end it differently?

Check out the best kids’ book club picks here.

Now that your book club is ready, there is only one last step: enjoy! Enjoy the time spent together, enjoy the learning opportunities, enjoy getting to know your own children better. And once they are ready to immerse themselves in the literary world even more, bring them along to any of the wonderful and informative Storyfest events!

See our children’s literacy programmes here!