Monday, October 13, 2014

Books and Breakfast: Shelter Pet Squad #1 by Cynthia Lord

On Friday, we had our first Books and Breakfast Book Club.  Kids who signed up were dropped off at school 30 minutes early.  We had donuts and chatted about the book.

For this first Book Club, I chose the new book Shelter Pet Squad: Jelly Bean by Cynthia Lord. I wanted a book that was accessible to most kids in my room (either on their own or with help from a parent). And I wanted a book with something to talk about.

I love Shelter Pet Squad and am excited about this series as you may know from my recent blog post about the book.  

About 2 weeks before the Book Club, I gave each student a copy of the book. They had 2 weeks to read it and to jot down thinking, knowing they'd be talking to others about the book. I had no idea how it would go this early in the year so it was very open ended.

Then a few days before the Book Club, I put up a poster inviting kids in the group to jot down questions that might be worth talking about on Friday. I wanted this to be simple and I hoped that this was enough preparation for them.  The board filled as the week went on.
On Friday morning, I typed up the list of questions and kids used this list if they needed it.  I had about 12 kids attend the book talk. Some used the list and others had other connected conversations. The conversations were fabulous and we all had a great time.  The event was definitely a success!  We sent a few tweets to Cynthia Lord and heard back.  

Below are the questions that students discussed:

Shelter Pet Squad #1

What is your favorite part?
What do you like about this book?
What’s your favorite thing about Shelter Pet Squad?
Who is your favorite character?
What is an interesting part you like? 
Did you choose this book because you like animals ?
What did you think about to pick this book?
What is your most favorite chapter?
What is so important about this story?
Why did you decide to read this book?
Do you have a pet?  If you do, did you get it from a shelter?
Why do you think the author wrote this story?

We had a great time and can't wait until our next morning book club. Next Up: Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.


  1. What a great idea! I'm sorry if I missed a post describing the thinking behind, Books and Breakfast Book Club. Why before school? Are you having book clubs during reading workshop. How did you describe it to parents? Thanks for any further insight in advance.

    1. No, I got the idea from someone on Twitter who does these. I think before school is a little more fun, at least to kick them off. I don't do any required book clubs usually but most kids participate in something. This is just voluntary and for fun and I sent home a note with first 3 books and dates for sign ups. It's really just for fun but changes the conversation in the regular school day.

    2. Thanks Franki! Ok, a few more questions. :) How often? Does no required book clubs mean no book clubs during the day and if so, what do you use for small group instruction?

    3. My read aloud really focuses on how to talk around a book at a deeper level. IN terms of small group, I do strategy groups and guided reading group, and reading behavior groups. I usually use short books in small groups unless my goal is specific to working through or understanding a longer novel. So when I have done book clubs, they are student-run and they tend to be on top of the small group instruction. I run the book clubs like a true book club where I am not the one in charge of the conversation. Hope that helps.

    4. Very helpful. Thank you, thinking through lots in my grade level move right now.

  2. I love this series. Only read the first one but thought it was terrific. I'm sure kids are going to eat these up. (Why didn't I think of this? Dang.)

  3. I ditto Mandy's comment! I love this idea! Mostly I want to know if you provided books or if students had to find a way to borrow/purchase one.
    Chickadee Jubilee

    1. It was a choice--they could get a copy or I offered to get them. The first was one in the book orders and a few teachers are alternating books so that we can share. Most kids chose for me to get them a copy of the book.

  4. Love your idea of putting up a poster where they can put their questions. I also do a book club with grade 3 students. I am going to do this too! This month we are reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. We meet once a month. I like your idea of doing it every two weeks with easier to read books though. I might be able to get a few more kids interested if we took it down a notch.


Comment moderation is turned on.