Prepare ahead of time, read the book,
biographical information about the author and book reviews. Prepare
questions ahead of time or use the questions included with your
Traveling Book Club kit.
- Have a comfortable seating arrangement.
- Begin by introducing yourself and, if
people are not all familiar with each other, have them go around and
- Think of yourself as a facilitator. Try to
begin with a provocative question and step back. Avoid closed-ended
questions like "Did you like the book?"
- Your job as a leader is to maintain the
focus and keep the discussion moving.
- Be a good listener and observer. Listen for
quiet members and try to draw them into the discussion. Watch for
someone anxious to get into the conversation and help them to find a
gap in the conversation.
- Respect everyone's opinion. Not everyone
will like the book. When there are differing views encourage
discussion about the reasons for liking or disliking a book. Let it
be known that the group is non-judgmental and everyone's opinion is
valued. Often the best discussions happen when there is less
- Don't use the discussion questions as if it
were an exam. Rather use them as conversation starters.
- Choose a favorite passage or two from the
book. Reading aloud can bring a new perspective to the passage.
- Don't worry too much about short silent
periods, but be prepared with your own notes to get the discussion
- Be sure to end on time, summarize points
made during the session and thank everyone for their participation.
discussion leader tips:
Books (all are available
from the Leon County Public Library System):
The New York Public Library
Guide To Reading Groups, by Rollene Saal, Crown Publishers, 1995.This helpful guide provides
stimulating reading lists and practical tips for organizing and
leading your own successful book-discussion group. Explains how to
get a group started, determine its ideal size, weigh the pros and
cons of having a leader, understand the effects of various
leadership styles, develop a book list that will appeal to your
group's interests, and foster a good discussion.
The Reading Group Handbook, by
Rachel W. Jacobsohn, Hyperion, 1998 is widely recognized as the definitive guide to
starting a book club. Now, with new material geared specifically
toward fans of Oprah's Book Club, this book is the one source fans
will need to take their love of books to the next logical step and
start their own reading groups.
The Reading Group Book: The
Complete Guide To Starting And Sustaining A Reading Group, With
Annotated Lists Of 250 Titles For Provocative Discussion by David
Laskin, Plume, 1995. A complete guide to starting and sustaining a
reading group--with annotated lists of 250 titles for provocative
discussion. Filled with funny and insightful stories from book group
members, independent booksellers, and even a sociologist, this guide
will inspire the start-up of new groups.