Keep your Child Engaged in Reading with Virtua Book Clubs
Even under the best circumstances, students often lose many of their reading skills over the summer break. Reading is like a muscle, and the skill becomes weaker if it is not used for an extended period of time. This is particularly true for young learners, for whom a few months is a significant portion of their lives. To avoid this, the US Department of Education recommends that children should read at least 30 minutes per day during the summer. Doing this will not only prevent a “summer slide,” but may even give your child an advantage when school starts again in the fall. If you are looking to make sure your child is maintaining and developing the literacy skills they need during the summer and into the school year, Virtua Book Clubs is an ideal resource.
Virtua Book Clubs is a digital learning tool where learners read several different books across genres and ability levels. Once they have joined the club, your child will be guided through their book by a club leader, who is a certified educator. Over the course of several weeks, your child will have the opportunity to collaborate with other children, engage with interesting prompts and projects, and receive assistance if they need guidance. Virtua also has built-in features to make the text accessible and interactive. Readers can highlight text, insert notes, and even have the text read to them! The clubs are meant to encourage members to think about reading as an enriching and fun experience, not as a task to be endured.
Once students are registered with a club, it works just like a book club in person does. There are regular meetings that can be found on our Events Page, and before that learners are encouraged to read a portion of the book and consider guiding questions. What students are expected to do depends on their age. A first grader may not be asked to read but to consider a question like, “What does it mean to be in a family.” On the other hand a high school junior may be asked to write their own questions to bring into the discussion based on themes already discussed in previous meetings. The learners in the club then engage in a dialogue about the book based on their ideas. The teacher-leader will also have an opportunity to correct any misconceptions around, or draw attention to, new aspects of the story. By keeping students on a schedule, Virtua Book Clubs ensures that learners remain engaged and inspired while reading.
There are no grades for Virtua Book Clubs. The goal is to help young readers learn at home and develop strong and lasting habits around reading and unlocking an interest and curiosity in new kinds of stories. Learners also develop skills towards critically analyzing works and engaging in meaningful discourse with their peers. Over the course of a year, students may discuss how Frankenstein laid the groundwork for the Science Fiction genre, hold a trial for Abigail from The Crucible, or how to help a friend be brave after reading The Berenstain Bears Gotta Dance. All these activities aim towards making lifetime readers out of club members.
Virtua Book Clubs plans to launch during the fall of 2020. We will have different clubs for different grade levels. Check back on our Events Page regularly to see when specific clubs will be starting. If you would like to sign up even before we launch, click here. For those of you who are reading this blog after we already launched our book clubs, to sign up, first subscribe to Virtua and then, on your My Account page, sign up under Virtua Book Clubs, at no additional charge. Learners who are signed up for Virtua Book Clubs will have a fun and educational reading experience while interacting with peers.