Why did I make it the children's responsibility to sign in? Just that - to make them responsible for themselves with a nice incentive at the end of the year for doing so.
But - I would always ask before we began the Tween Book Club session if everyone had remembered to sign in - There was always a few who would jump up and do it if they had forgotten.
The incentive to do this? A bag of goodies at the end of the year at the December meeting.
This 'Christmas' meeting was always special. We would invite everyone to come along as a book character, and it didn't matter if it was just a little face paint or a costume from head to foot, everyone always had a fantastic time.
For the first few years I would bake xmas goodies, have popcorn, drinks and chippies. But when I asked if parents could bring along a plate of goodies for the meeting, they were only too pleased to help!
(One Christmas, a mum had only realised on the way to Book club that she had left her contribution on the table at home, so she dashed into a fish and chip shop and brought along a few scoops of hot chips. They went down a treat!)
After some fun photos, we would always talk about our favourite book for the year - it was a tough decision for most! Then I would hand out Christmas goodie bags, and this is where the 'Signing in Incentive' kicked in.
The more bookclub meetings a member came to, the more goodies they got at the December meeting!
It was tough (fun) competition amongst a few members and their friends, as to how many monthly meetings they could tick off over the year - and the prizes weren't by any means expensive. It was just friendly rivalry at being the person with the most ticks!
Possible Gifts for Christmas Goodie Bags - List
At our first Christmas meeting, we used brown paper bags - but then Banks, publishers, or retail stores would gift them to us. It was good advertising for the businesses because their logo was all over the bags, and a great way to hand out goodies!
We were lucky enough to get over-runs of books, 'readers' copies (with plain covers), and samples from publishers which we put aside all year, so that each book club member went away with at least one book to keep from the December meeting.
Don't have access to a publisher? Ring and ask them. You'd be amazed at how many books are pulped as returns from booksellers etc. If that is still not possible, why not check out the next second hand book sale in your area, or the next book sale at bargain stores. Many of these stores buy 'remainders', in bulk from publishers and then sell them at really cheap prices. I've found brand new kids and teens books at School Gala Book Tables.
Keep your eyes and ears open throughout the year. If you are anything like me, you'll be going to the book sales anyway - and its amazing what 'near new' treasures you'll find!
Inside the Bags - Can be sourced throughout the year
Special Note: Depending on whether you have chosen to charge members to attend your Book club could determine what you have in your goodie bags. We never charged a cent over 4 years and the members always went away with something.
Members Leaving: Members may leave for many reasons - but the special reasons were if they were turning 13, going to High School, or moving away. We would always make a fuss of them saying goodbye, and many times would be welcoming them in the New Year to the Teen Bookclub!
So - December Meetings were usually:
- Arrive in Book Character Costume / Photos
- Discuss our favourite books for the year
- Hand out Goodie Bags - 'the most attended meetings' members were first
- Eat the yummy goodies they'd brought along to share
- Farewell for another year!
My next 'Tween Bookclubs' post will be 1st January 2016 - Book Club Activities
Have a Merry Christmas and a fabulous time with family and friends!