Family Book Club: Shades of Gray, by Carolyn Reeder

Last night was our first ever Family Book Club, hosted by Mrs. Rickabaugh and me for fourth grade students and their parents! We met from 6-7 PM in the library to share ideas, questions, and thoughts about the book while eating snacks and playing games. Participants enjoyed door prizes, interactive activities, old-fashioned apple pie and homemade lentils, and even a Civil War Selfie Booth (you have GOT to check out some of those Civil War Selfies – a few are shared at the bottom of this post)! I was so impressed that each parent and student had carefully read the book and came ready to debate and discuss. This was such a great opportunity for Mrs. Rickabaugh and I to spend time with our students and their families, and to take our love and excitement for literacy outside of the classroom.

Check out the pictures below to learn more about our inaugural book club and how YOU can get involved in a parent-student book club of your own.

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Before the night began, guests gathered to snack, chat, and snap some photos in our Civil War Selfie Booth.

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We opened with an ice breaker that got students and parents moving and thinking – stand next to the character that you most related to. Groups then had to discuss why they chose their character, and explain it to the group.

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A new take on discussion questions! Each table had a question written on it, and student-family teams had ten minutes to visit each table and write their best answer. To share, each team was asked to share the question that was most meaningful to them.

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Our discussion questions started some wonderful full-group conversations about plot, character, and things we wish we’d seen in the book. My favorite part was when we discussed the questions that students and parents brought with them. I love hearing about how people experience the same story differently!

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We finished the night with SUMMARY WARS, a competition that takes place frequently in Mrs. Rickabaugh’s room. There were no teams on this exercise – each reader was on his/her own! Each reader had five minutes and one piece of paper to write their best summary of Shades of Gray, the whole story! Every character, every plot twist, every detail! For some of our readers and writers, keeping the summary SHORT was the biggest challenge! Mrs. Rickabaugh read each summary out loud, and after a few votes, we realized we just couldn’t pick a winner. They were all too good!

DSC01672The whole group gets together for one last shot.

Thank you so much to all of our families and students who came to discuss Shades of Gray with us!

Are you interested in attending a Family Book Club with your student? If you’d like to participate in an event like this one, contact me at Let’s work together to make something great!

PS: Check out some of my favorite photos from the evening’s Civli War Selfie Booth!

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