A group of students sat around the table this summer, drinking Sonic slushies and snacking on mozzarella sticks, while they discussed their favorite parts of books they had read over the past couple of months. The meeting was the first-ever for the Dalton Public Schools inaugural summer book club.
District Literacy Coordinator Alice Ensley decided to test out the book club this summer as a trial run. And while the club started small, her hope is that each year, new students will come and share the experience with their friends for it to continue growing.
"I want the students to see that this is what people do with books," explained Ensley. "It won't always be about tests or reports. People can enjoy books and get together to talk about them."
Students had the option of several pre-picked books to read, based on their grade level. Roan student Genesis Hernandez joined because she loves to read and was interested in the book selection, "Stef Soto, Taco Queen" by Jennifer Torres. Her mom, Rocio, encouraged her brother, Jared, to attend and keep up with reading on grade level.
"The book club is a great idea because in the summer they are playing video games and might forget about reading," said Ms. Hernandez. "This helped them learn responsibility and take on a new challenge."
The students genuinely enjoyed the books, too, as they discussed themes they found or how different points of view were used to tell the stories.
"'The One and Only Ivan' was really good. When I saw it, I thought I'd give it a try," said Jared Hernandez. "My favorite part was at the end when Ivan finally found a home."
The group talked about the issues of animal rights and their excitement that the story would soon be made into a movie. They talked about which books they might like to read next and agreed that they would love to participate in the book club next summer (and would bring along some friends, too!)
See photos of the first book club meeting below: