The Newtown High School Book Club had its first meeting on Monday, September 30, to talk about its current book, Divergent by Veronica Roth. Huddled around a table in the school’s library/media center, students assigned club officers and discussed the book and more.
The group’s first order of business was to assign club officers for the new school year. Ellen Moran took the role of president, Juliana Sansonetti became vice president, Abigail Kohler secretary, and Carly Lindsay is in charge of the club’s public relations.
Club advisors and library/media specialists Liza Zandonella and Tiffany Cotroneo helped run the meeting. They came prepared with a list of insightful questions to get ideas going and to spark new viewpoints for conversation.
The group’s discussions, however, were not primarily wielded by the advisors’ questions. The students freely talked about their favorite scenes in the book, character development, making comparisons to other books, and asked questions to the group. Everyone shared their opinions respectfully with one another, which resulted in an hourlong meeting.
Ms Zandonella and Ms Cotroneo explained how the books the club reads are chosen by the students. They can be of any length and of any genre. In the past, books such as Warm Bodies, My Sister’s Keeper, World War Z, and The Bell Jar were selected.
At the end of the meeting club members decided that the book they would read next will be Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
For NHS students who are interested in joining the Book Club, meetings take place about once a month and usually fall on a Monday. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 28, at 2:05 in the library/media center.
Some books read and recommended by the NHS Book Club are also being read by students at Newtown Middle School, and NMS and Reed Intermediate School library/media specialists shared popular books from their schools.
According to NMS library/media specialist Jeanne Bugay, NMS students are also reading Divergent. Even though the NMS does not currently have a book club, Ms Bugay finds that students are still actively reading.
Ms Bugay’s job is to help seventh and eighth grade students make book selections in the library/media center. She has found that some of the most popular books among middle school students include: The Maze Runner series by James Dasher; Eleventh Plague and The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch; The Fault in Our Stars by John Green; Just Listen and Dreamland by Sarah Dessen; Payback by Andy McNab; Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson; Zoobreak and Framed by Gordon Korman; and Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by Alexander Smith.
A program adopted by the Board of Education called the Columbia Readers Workshop is also new to NMS this school year. The workshop makes all genres of books accessible to students in individual classrooms while combining lessons to go along with the reading.
Over at Reed Intermediate School, library/media specialist Pia Ledina has found that there are favorite books among the students there.
These popular books and series include the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney; Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai; The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins; Mindblind by Jennifer Rozines Roy; Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper; the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan; City of Orphans by Avi; Matched, Crossed, and Reached by Allyson Braithwaite Condie; Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt; and Wonder by R.J. Palaccio.
Ms Ledina also stressed that anything by the author Cornelia Funke, who wrote the Inkheart series and the Mirrorworld series, is very popular with the fifth and sixth graders.