Student clubs are key components of the extracurricular offerings at GEMS World Academy – Chicago. The Breakfast Book Club, which includes more than 30 third- and fourth-graders, is one of the clubs giving students an important social and intellectual outlet outside of the classroom.
The Breakfast Book Club is organized by Kris Sabel, the nurse at GEMS. Sabel said she envisioned the club as a way to reach and inspire reluctant readers.
“It’s been great,” she said. “We started with just eight students, and we had about 15 a week later. Now we’re around 31 students. I’ve had parents tell me that they’ve seen a change in their children’s reading habits since joining.”
During a recent session, the club discussed The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer Holm. The book tells the story of 11-year-old Ellie, who meets a strange boy she believes could actually be her grandfather, Melvin – a scientist constantly searching for eternal youth.
While commenting on the book, club members talked about the difference between main and supporting characters, then explored what makes character a protagonist or an antagonist. They also discussed setting and how the author provided clues about the story’s time period.
In the past, the club read and discussed El Deafo, a memoir about the author’s loss of her hearing from meningitis told as a “graphic novel,” and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, an acclaimed fantasy-mystery.
“We’ve read some sophisticated books,” Sabel said. “I try to pick books that have won awards or earned a significant amount of praise.”
The Breakfast Book Club takes place before the start of school in the school library every other Wednesday.