Adapting Book Clubs to meet Covid-19 Guidance

Adapting Book Clubs to meet Covid-19 Guidance

Book clubs can be an important part of providing a rich and varied offer to pupils and help support pupils catch up with literacy skills and build confidence. However, we recognise that there are specific challenges around running book clubs in a Covid-19 secure format.   We have assessed the key risks associated with running the book clubs and have identified the following options for schools to adapt them to be Covid-19 secure.

We understand that most schools are operating either year group or form group bubbles which makes it difficult to run book clubs with Book Club Leaders from other year groups. We have therefore considered alternative options for adapting our book club model to take into account Covid-19 guidance to schools.



  • Book clubs can be run within forms to keep in form bubbles.  If bubbles are a whole year group then it should still be possible for selected pupils to meet separately, provided the groups are kept consistent and don’t significantly increase mixing within a bubble. 


  • Clubs will need to meet in a space that is large enough to allow for social distancing and will need a fixed seating plan so that track and trace can be used if required. We are aware that advice to schools is that measures should include seating pupils side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on, where possible. This is clearly not ideal for a book club format, but options include working in existing table pairs (a mini book club!), finding a large enough space to enable circular seating at 2m spacing so that smaller groups can meet, or if necessary running from the front of a classroom (this would probably need to be a full form). 


  • Book club members should be assigned their own books which they keep between sessions to avoid multiple pupils handling a book. 


  • Copies of BCiS Questions and Activities should be provided to each Book Club Leader and opportunities available to print fresh copies if required to avoid the sharing of materials. 


Book Club Leaders

  • Book Club Leaders can be recruited from within the year group (these can either be selected by form tutors/English lead/head of year) or applications for the role can be invited (similar to the way some schools appoint to roles such as sports captain etc). Our suggested criteria are an interest in reading and confidence/willingness to speak to be able to lead group (perhaps pairing a less confident leader with a more confident one). 


  • Where schools have previously run very targeted groups for lower ability readers, they may need to think about having more mixed ability groups for this format to enable greater peer support.


  • We suggest that a pair of book club leaders are used so that they can plan together and support one another. One may want to focus on the questions and the other on activities. 


  • Book club could be led by a form tutor – although this is not ideal, it may be better if Y7 is taking time to settle in and may not be ready to take on role or if space available makes it difficult for smaller group work to be undertaken with required social distancing.


Training and support

  • Y7 Book Club Leaders can be trained remotely by BCiS or we can provide you with training materials to use in school.


  • Y7 Book Club Leaders may need a bit more support initially.  For example, a short meeting led by the School Book Club Coordinator before the first couple of meetings to check they are ok with the BCiS Questions and Activities and answer any concerns. This support could also come during the sessions with a teacher/librarian/LSA moving between groups. 


  • Book Club Leaders would have the book club guides to take them through each week of the book with questions, activities and the set pages to read between each season.  We suggest that if possible, they are provided with copies of the book before the book club starts so that they have time to read ahead and familiarise themselves with the book.


Continuity/transfer to online learning

  • If there is a local or national lockdown, we have found that book clubs have transferred very successfully into an online format.  They are therefore a good way for schools to support an enhanced curriculum through our online offer. 


  • Schools have been using either Zoom, Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams to continue their clubs.  We can support you making the transfer.
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