Spring Book Club: A Rewarding Experience You Can Count On
More than 40 students, staff and community members discussed the book, Counting by 7s, and enjoyed a virtual visit by author Holly Goldberg Sloan during the 10th Community Book Club hosted by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Laura Seinfeld.
The evening, held in the Oyster Bay High School Library, was part of an initiative Dr. Seinfeld began five years ago as a way to promote the love of reading and the sharing of ideas and insights with all sectors of the community. The book club takes place twice a year, in the spring and fall and is open to the whole community.
Described as an “intensely moving middle level novel,” Counting by 7s explores the difficulties of not fitting in, of coping with tragic loss and ultimately discovering the bonds that unite people as a family. The main character, Willow Chance, a 12-year-old genius who finds comfort in counting by 7s, is faced with obstacles that cause her to navigate life on her own.
Using a World Café Model, participants sat in small groups and were given questions to jump-start their conversations. After a set amount of time, the participants switched groups and continued discussions with new groups that offered fresh perspectives on the book. Each group selected a student to be a “table host” who took notes and helped guide the conversations. After the discussions, students volunteered to stand up and share their ideas, each building on what the student before them shared.
The evening culminated with a Skype session with the author who shared many insights about her book, including her inspiration, hidden meanings, and elements that she incorporated from her personal experiences. The also answered students’ questions.
Junior McKenzie Boggs, who joined the book club for the first time, said, “Even if Willow’s situation wasn’t so relatable to your own life, there were little things about her that anyone could relate to very similarly such as feeling like an outcast or knowing that they are not what society considers to be normal.”
She added, “The book club was a really fun experience. I got to see some old friends and some of my old teachers, and it was cool to be able to meet the author and put a face to the writing.”
For first-timer Steve Mushorn, also a junior, the evening was “honestly better than what I expected. I loved the concept of exchanging ideas with different groups and hearing what other people had to say about the book.”
The Community Book Club is typically recommended for students attending Vernon School and up. To prepare second graders at Roosevelt Elementary School for what’s in store for them next year, Library Media Specialist Roseann Davidson and Literacy Coach Christine Bartell conducted a “Taste of Dr. Seinfeld’s Community Book Club” earlier that day. Mimicking the book club format, students broke into small groups with different teachers and administrators in the District and discussed the children’s book, Unlovable, by Dan Yaccarino. Then student volunteers stood up and, with guidance from Ms. Davidson, shared their ideas. The event also featured a video of Dr. Seinfeld who addressed students about the Community Book Club and the excitement that awaits them next year.
“Adding new activities, such as the Skype session and the ‘Taste of Community Book Club’ has truly given our book club greater dimension and depth,” Dr. Seinfeld said. “I thank everyone for their participation and their efforts in making this book club a success, and hope that the experience has been an enriching and rewarding one for all.”
Students get ready for the Spring Community Book Club.
Participants engage in conversation about the book.
Participants change groups and continue their discussions.
Students volunteered to share their thoughts.
Participants enjoy an enlightening Skype session with the author.
More than 40 bibliophiles took part in the Community Book Club.
Roosevelt second graders discuss a book in the style of Dr. Seinfeld's Community Book Club.
Second graders volunteered to share their thoughts.