Conferences and Events GatheringReaders

GatheringReaders – Book Club for Young Readers in Singapore

A little over a week ago, I initiated a book club for young readers aged 8-10 around the NTU campus and my daughters’ school mates in the fourth grade. December is a fairly relaxed time in the university with most people on leave – and my daughter’s theater and Catechism classes are over – so our Saturdays are relatively free. I figured: why not come up with a book club for young readers? Here are sections from the email blast I sent out to the NTU campus and my daughter’s classmates a week ago:

Who are Invited?
·     Young children aged 8-11 years old
·     Voracious, avid, passionate readers who devour books
·     Children with snarky commentaries about books they like (or don’t like)

What will we do?
·     Share books that we love to read
·     Do read-alouds of entire books or passages from books that moved us
·     Watch movies together
·     Talk about authors we like

Where will we meet and what time?
·     The book club is meant to run this December of 2011 in our home

What are target deliverables?
·     Apart from enjoying each other’s company, each child would be given a notebook to write down some of their thoughts about books that they like, bought/read over the week, borrowed from their libraries, and to write down their discussion notes if they so wish
·     Activities/workshops would be prepared to enhance the discussion – and documented in their notebook
·     Possible features of some of their work on (a website on children’s literature/YA fiction) which I run.

How much will this cost me?
·     Nothing! The best things in life are free! It’s meant to be a gathering of like-minded individuals who have a passion for the written word.
·     There can be only 8-10 kids to maximize the book-sharing experience. So sign up now and register.


I have always felt that if you give a shout-out to avid bibliophiles, they will hear the call, and they will come. And true enough, I have ten kids who signed up. For the first session, only eight kids were able to make it, since one is still out of the country, while another boy has a school project to attend to.

It was drizzling so the kids took their sweet time to slowly trickle in. I first asked them to introduce themselves by thinking of a character in a book that would best describe them.

Our living room was filled with kids (and a few moms)

After the introductions, I asked the kids to find a partner. They should take turns interviewing each other about their favorite book which they were asked to bring along with them.

Click on the image to be taken to the websource. This is the same image that I have shown the kids in my set of slides.

They were each given a black notebook to write down their notes – and their task is to introduce their partner to the rest of the group.

Kids interviewing each other: Alvi and Sophie
Myka and Kyle
James and Bobby
Jiaqi and Jason
I sat with the younger kids - Jiaqi and Jason are both seven years old
Kyle taking down notes.
Bobby writing down his interview notes
I sat down with the girls.

After a few minutes of break (many thanks to the moms who brought some snacks! the homemade dip brought by Sophie and her mom was just yummylicious), the kids went on to share with the rest of the group what they have discovered about each other.

Sophie brought The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan - Alvi was giving the introductions.
8 year old Alvi brought her favorite book Michael Morpurgo's "Butterfly Lion" - these kids are well-read!
My daughter Myka chose the books "The Big Nate" and "Cabin Fever" - Kyle was making the introductions.
Kyle's favorite book is Warriors: Forest of Secrets by Erin Hunter - Myka was making the introductions.
Jason's favorite book is... lo and behold, an encyclopedia! 🙂 The World of Animals - Jiaqi was making the introductions.
Jiaqi's book is Geronimo Stilton's The Kingdom of Fantasy. You see those color-coded stickies? She has marked her favorite sections - blue for each chapter, yellow for the 'science' elements mentioned in the story and purple marks for the little stories found within the tale. This girl is amazing!
Bobby's favorite book is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
James' choice: Young Samurai - The Ring of Fire by Chris Bradford

After our sharing, I told them about my plan to read chapters from Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret for each of our Saturday sessions this December. I am glad that none of them has read the book yet. I just hope that we do finish the book during our last session in December. Before reading aloud, I showed them the book trailer as can be found below:

and the movie trailer:

I just found out that the movie would only be shown here in Singapore on March 2012. How’s that for strange?

I have two copies of the book - one is my very own copy which I am holding in my hands. The other book held by my assistant, Myka, is borrowed from the library.

I definitely am looking forward to our second session next week. Kids, don’t forget to bring books written by your favorite authors – and your black notebooks! See you next Saturday!

9 comments on “GatheringReaders – Book Club for Young Readers in Singapore

  1. I loved seeing every picture. The kids certainly are well-read, & I got tickled because they were so serious. I loved Hugo Cabret & hope they will too. I hope you tell us what they talk about during your discussions. What a super group you’ve created.


    • Hi Linda, they’re a pretty well-behaved batch! Yes, they were intensely doing their interviews. I loved it. They seemed to love Hugo Cabret as well – challenge is whether we’d be able to finish the entire book in five sessions. 🙂


  2. It looks like all of you had so much fun that I wish I could be part of it but I am seriously way way over the age limit. 😀 It’s great seeing kids that find reading less of a chore and more of a fun way to spend their free time.


    • Hi Tin! You’re more than welcome to join! You’re just a 3-hour airplane ride away. 🙂 Let me know which Saturday in December you’re planning on coming over (wink wink)


  3. Looks like the kids enjoyed themselves. Great effort on your part.


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