I’m so pleased to be able to introduce a truly wonderful idea for improving literacy and creating joy at the dinner table!
It is my honor to introduce Jodie Rodriguez from Growing Book by Book. She shares with me information about her Family Dinner Book Club in our conversation below. Take a look at what she and her partners are doing to promote shared meals and literacy!
Carol: How did you come up with the idea of the Family Dinner Book Club?
Jodie: Last year I did a series called Table Topics which were conversation starters to help get kids talking at the dinner table. It was so successful that I wanted to build off of that project. I searched for a few partners in the project and Jill from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom volunteered to do the table decoration craft end and Sarah from Daisy at Home agreed to do the menu planning. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate literacy into family activities. I’m also a strong believer in family dinners. So, this seemed like a perfect fit.
Carol: How are the books selected?
Jodie: The collaborators of the project (Jill, Sarah and myself) brainstorm titles. We also take recommendations from those participating in the project. We took a poll of those participating and they requested that we alternate between a picture book and chapter book each month. We are always tweaking the project to fit the needs of the participants.
Carol: I endorse any shared-meal plan where people collaborate in the various activities. Does your plan offer ways for everyone to get involved?
Jodie: Most definitely! Sarah does a great job with the menu. She offers advice for getting the kids involved in meal preparation. Jill suggests lots of hands on activities for decorating the dinner table.
Carol: It sounds like so much fun! How often does the Family Dinner Book Club take place?
Jodie: On the 1st of each month we announce the new book. We alternate between picture books and chapter books. On the 15th of every month we share the menu, table decoration ideas and conversation starters. Participants are encouraged to read throughout the month. If it is a picture book, it can be read several times. For chapter books, many read a chapter a night. All families decide on what night works best for their Family Dinner Book Club sometime during the month. Most hold their club the last week of the month. We also have a Family Dinner Book Club Facebook page where we offer support and share throughout the month.
Carol: Sounds like your plan allows for a lot of flexibility, and because every family is unique, that’s really helpful. What I also love about it is that the creativity involved in the themes of the book offers so much inspiration. What kind of feedback have you been hearing so far from the families, especially the kids?
Jodie: It’s been fabulous. I love to see how families tweak it to fit their needs. One family turned it into a book club for friends and family. They all meet on a Saturday to discuss. When we featured the book, The Day the Crayons Quit, a family wrote and said they spent hours at the table coloring and talking! They are always so eager to know what book is coming next. I’ve had to start giving clues to keep everyone satisfied!
Carol: Is this Book Club for kids of any age?
Jodie: Yes, it can be adapted for most ages. The book selections are geared for 4-8 year-olds. But, I do offer suggestions each month on how to adapt for younger and older children.
Carol: How can people follow you, find out more and join in the fun?
Jodie: The best way to follow along is either by visiting the Growing Book by Book blog Family Dinner Book Club page or the Family Dinner Book Club Facebook page.
Carol: What book are you working on this month in April?
Jodie: We just announced details for Xander’s Panda Party filled with imaginative ideas, menus, and table decorations. Check it out here: Xander’s Panda Party April Book Club Selection
Has this conversation inspired you to join in? If so, please check out Jodie’s website, along with her partners Jill and Sarah. [Links above!]
Congratulations on this fabulous work!