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“Now I Learned to Love the Books”: ESL Book Clubs

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“Now I Learned to Love the
Books”: ESL Book Clubs
Ramona Lucius
Outreach Coordinator
San Antonio Public Library
ramona.lucius@sanantonio.gov
Recommended Reading

Dali, Keren. Immigrant Readers: Feeling �At Home’ in Library
Reading Programs. Readers Advisor News, July 2010.
http://www.readersadvisoronline.com/ranews/jul2010/dali.html.

Ashton, Rick and Danielle Milam. Welcome, Stranger: Public
Libraries Build the Global Village.
http://www.urbanlibraries.org/associations/9851/files/ULC_WS.pdf

Cohen, Hsin-Yi. How to Lead Book Club Meetings. http://
www.thereadingclub.co.uk/HowToLeadBookClubMeetings.html.

Wizner, Stacy and Laura Zurio. Using Book Clubs in the ESL
Classroom. AZ-TESOL News. Vol. 31, issue 3, pp. 1-3.
San Antonio:
An International Community
12.5% born outside US
43% speak language other than
English at home (2010 Census)
United States:
An International Community
12.7% born outside US
20.1% speak language other than
English at home (2010 Census)
A great opportunity to create new
library users!
Recruiting New Users
“[D]isadvantaged groups, including. .
.new immigrants. . .were less likely to
use public libraries.”
– Sei-Ching Joanna Sin and Kyung-Sun Kim, “Use
and Non-Use of Public Libraries in the
Information Age,” Library & Information Science
Research 30(3), 207-215.
ESL Book Clubs
In the US:
Douglas County
(CO)
Yuma County (AZ)
San Jose (CA)
Centreville (VA)
Paramus (NJ)
Chicago
Tulsa City-County
(OK)
In Canada:
Regina
Brooks
Vancouver
Masonville
Vaughan
Richmond
Toronto
Origin of Book Clubs
“The book club has a distinguished role in
American culture. The clubs were formed in the
19th century, primarily as a way to help immigrants
learn the language of their new country.”
—David C. Kupfer, “Should the American Canon Be
Discussed in a Public Library? The Selection of Classic
American Authors in One Book Reading Projects.”
http://unllib.unl.edu/LPP/kupfer.pdf.
Benefits of Book Clubs
“This environment, so valuable and important for
many readers, is doubly valuable for immigrants
who may not feel quite �at home’ no matter how
many years they have lived in the host country. . .
.The beauty of a book club, and other reading
programs, is the fact that they capitalize not on
differences (par distance) but similarities (par
closeness) — the same favorite authors, genres,
and titles.”
—Keren Dali
Benefits of Book Clubs
“The result has been increased levels of reading for
pleasure, wider vocabularies, and the practice of
higher-order thinking skills. . . .”
--Barbara Vaille and Jennifer Quinn Williams
Different Strokes
Some clubs
*meet once a month
*meet for 90-120 minutes
*use children’s books or standard adult fiction and nonfiction
*limit club size
*gives the books as gifts
Dare to Read
Weekly 1-hour book club for adult ESL
learners
8 meetings per semester
Two weeks per title
Partnership with Dept. of Human
Services
Completion rate: 67%
Why Does Dare to Read Work?
Marketing: classroom visits, flyers,
bookmarks, website, Twitter, newsletters
Convenience
Group diversity
Non-judgmental, no-pressure environment
Why Does Dare to Read Work?
THE BOOKS
Oxford Bookworms series
Leveled readers (Stage 1: 400 headwords
through Stage 6: 2500 words)
Revised versions of classic literature in variety
of genres
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Plays
Additional Formats
Oxford has some Bookworms titles with CDs
Wizard of Oz, Les Miserables, Romeo & Juliet et al
Cambridge offers some leveled-reader ebooks
On Kindle
Can adjust font size and spacing between words/lines
With text-to-speech capability
Murder mysteries
Registration Day
Complete registration form
and survey
Hand out meeting
schedule
Issue library cards and
library maps
Explain circulation policies
Renewals, fines, fees for lost
items
Check out copies of the
first title
Pre-Program Survey
1.
I enjoy reading in my own language.
TRUE
PARTLY TRUE
FALSE
2.
I enjoy reading in English.
3.
I can read well in English.
4.
I visit a library
MORE THAN ONCE A MONTH
ONCE A MONTH
LESS THAN ONCE A MONTH
NOT AT ALL
What Happens at a Meeting?
Attendance, registration of new
members, library card sign-up
What Happens at a Meeting?
Discussion
Background: brief author bio, interesting
facts about the book
– Although Dracula is set in Eastern Europe, Stoker
never visited there.
– In versions published in India, the Tin Man is
instead a snake.
What Happens at a Meeting?
Discussion
Read aloud
visual aids
discussion
What Happens at a Meeting?
Check in and check out books
Librarian carefully checks all members’
records for overdue materials, fines, etc.
Book Sample
“Tom came out of his house with a
brush and a big bucket of white paint
in his hand. He looked at the fence; it
was nine feet high and ninety feet
long. He put his brush in the paint
and painted some of the fence. He
did it again. Then he stopped and
looked at the fence, put down his
brush, and sat down.”
– Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Great Books=Great Discussions
Call of the Wild: freedom vs. security
Robinson Crusoe: skills a new
immigrant needs to succeed
Christmas Carol: what does an
individual owe to society?
Frankenstein: scientific discovery vs.
ethics
Post-Program Survey
1.
I enjoyed this book club.
TRUE
PARTLY TRUE
FALSE
2.
This book club helped me to read better in English.
TRUE PARTLY TRUE
FALSE
3.
This club helped me to enjoy reading.
TRUE PARTLY TRUE
FALSE
4.
I visit a library
MORE THAN ONCE A MONTH
ONCE A MONTH
LESS THAN ONCE A MONTH
NOT AT ALL
Successes
100% of the participants indicated
improvement in their reading skills,
enjoyment of reading, and library use
Comments:
“I learned more day by day. My teacher
Diana is very nice. We love you.”
“Now I am a better reader and I also
improved my pronunciation. Diana rocks!”
“Now I learned to love the books.”
Ready to Start?
Find a partner agency
Determine interest
Plan a schedule
Determine the format (books, ebooks,
books-on-CD)
Plan a schedule
Promote the program
Hold the meetings
Evaluate the program
Ready to Start?
Find the right facilitators
Book-loving
Respectful of other cultures
Patient
Enthusiastic
Diplomatic
Attentive to body language
Articulate
Good recordkeeping skills
Enjoy your club!
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