Keep it regular
If you are running reading groups in class time, you may be tempted to cancel and postpone because of curriculum demands. And, if it is an extra-mural, there may be other commitments that compete for time. But for a reading group to get momentum and have an impact, it needs to meet regularly, and become a ‘given’, a fixed item that learners know will happen, preferably at the same time every week. This develops the ‘habit’, and also demonstrates to learners that this is an important session that is valued and respected.
You need to be absolutely clear about what you are doing and what resources you are using. If you are using books, make sure your books are sorted and organised for your group or groups before the session. If you are using funzines, check that you know which session you are doing, and what the activities entail. If you are using online material, make sure devices are charged and available.
Be clear on how the session will run (eg will you read to the class, or the group? Or are you going to start off and then ask for volunteers?) and how you will get discussion going with the group (if you are all reading the same text you can ask more specific questions about particular characters or stories, or if they are reading different texts you can use the more generalised suggestions in the previous section in ‘reading aloud’.)
Start with a warm-up
If you can, start your reading group session with a short warm-up. This breaks the ice, and creates a fun atmosphere. And some of them are creative as well as educational! See the next module in the course for a few examples.
Don’t feel like you have to know everything. If you don’t know a word, look up the word on your phone to find the definition. Share your excitement and learning a new word. The best thing to model to learners is curiosity and interest – that is what will be good for their learning.
Encourage home reading
Have ideas of how to encourage home reading. Don’t forget to promote reading at home – read out from FunDza’s mobi site or lend out books from your classroom library. This can be your usual practice in the last five minutes of the session, and is a nice way to round off the session.