PVP teacher launches book club to inspire love of reading

PVP's Book Club meeting via ZoomLindsey Riolo knows that building a strong foundation of reading and comprehension skills contributes to students’ long-term academic growth. These skills benefit her students not only while they are at Pleasant Valley Primary School, but in all their years in Battle Ground Public Schools and beyond.

As a reading intervention specialist, Riolo helps students who need a little extra assistance with developing proficient reading skills. This year, Riolo also launched a book club that PVP students can join, creating opportunities for them to bond over a shared love of books and storytelling.

The book club is divided into two groups: one for kindergarten through second graders, and another for third and fourth grade students. This allows Riolo to choose books best suited for specific age groups, and also ensures that the group sizes stay manageable.

The aim of the book clubs is to get students talking about the stories they read, and to simply identify what they like and don’t like about the narrative. “Our discussions are much less analytical than a typical book club,” Riolo said. “It’s more about helping students find the joy in reading and introducing them to a variety of different book genres.”

To help fuel students’ desire to read for fun, Riolo chooses children’s books that are part of a series. The idea is to get them engaged with the first book of a series that the school library has on hand, hoping that the students will be enticed to continue reading the series on their own.

PVP student shows her book club dioramaIn addition to facilitating discussions about the stories and characters the students encounter in the books, Riolo also provides families with suggested craft projects and activities. For example, students can create drawings of scenes and characters, or timelines of events from the books. One student participant made King Arthur’s sword and shield from cardboard and aluminum foil. Another student built a diorama, while another created a Venn diagram, using overlapping circles to illustrate relationships.

“I have been so impressed with the engagement from students,” Riolo said. “Their discussions are insightful, they are being respectful of each other’s opinions, and they are showing so much creativity with their crafts. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.”

While the district’s K-4 students are in the hybrid learning model and attend classes in-person two days per week, the book club meets exclusively via Zoom for now. The school provides print copies of the books for students to take home, and families can also access the books on their Chromebooks or other devices. Riolo even taught her students how to use the split-screen feature on Zoom so they can have the digital book open on their screens and still see their classmates during the book club meeting.

“The PVP Book Club has been an amazing activity for many of our students. They can read for fun and engage in a discussion with friends, peers, and staff they enjoy being with,” said Pleasant Valley Primary School Principal Craig Pearson. “The work Mrs. Riolo has done to connect students and families with others who enjoy reading in a virtual setting has been well received by our PVP community. It is so fun to see students and families share their love of reading with others through this experience!”


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