The following comes from the Oxford World's Classics Magazine. These
tips are taken from Jenny Hartley's book Reading Groups published by
Keeping the Group alive:
How do I set up a reading group? from National Reading Campaign READ
ON Spring 2003
- Keep book reviews and take them along to meetings
- Each person makes an anonymous suggestion on a piece of paper which is
- then picked by someone in the group
- Never read the same author twice
- Choose books from other countries, or translations of foreign novels
- Get someone from a local bookshop to come along with a selection of
- If there's a new film of a book out have a video and book group
- Try some poetry or a play for a change
- Alternate between modern and classic books
- Select a biography
- Instead of a book, select an author for a change
- At its simplest, a reading group can be a few friends or colleagues
meeting in a home or pub, discussing a book.
- For a more supported
structure libraries are excellent venues, allowing more open access
and often a broader cross-section of members.
- The purpose of the
reading group is to give people the confidence to develop their own
reading and to empower them to choose for themselves what they want to
read across a wide range.
- Whatever the size or style of the group, it
is important to emphasise that it exists to foster the enjoyment of
Try to target your audience. You could focus on some of the
- a particular group of people, colleagues at work, teenagers, adult
learners, an over 60s coffee morning, or a group of neighbours.
- a particular time: lunchtime reading group, a weekly or a monthly
- a particular purpose: short books for people with little time,
exploring new genres, or books for holidays
- a particular theme: growing up, food, weepies, sports or different
Here are some ideas for early sessions:
- a questionnaire about reading habits. Where do you read? What are
your favourite types of book? Do you borrow books from the library
or do you prefer to own them?
- discuss the books you remember from childhood and the effect they had
- ask everyone to bring along a book that made them cry or laugh out
The Reading Groups Book by Jenny Harley