14 May How book clubs in schools help pupils’ mental health
Ben, a school librarian, shared how our book clubs help pupils in his school: “Book clubbers have demonstrated higher levels of engagement with the school library and more positive attitudes to reading… The programme has also helped a number of our students to come out of their shells, form new friendships and gain confidence.”
Our book clubbers often talk about how being in the book clubs makes them happy. There are many reasons why book clubs contribute to pupils’ positive mental health.
The act of reading itself boosts emotional well-being. We all know that reading is a great way to relax and unwind. It can be an escape from the pressures of daily life and reduce stress and anxiety. But being part of a book club amplifies the benefits of reading.
Reading helps promote empathy and an understanding of others as books provide new perspectives and a broader worldview. Discussing books and listening to other people’s perspectives develops empathetic skills even further. Empathy can help reduce conflict and build positive relationships, which builds well-being.
It’s well-documented that reading improves cognitive function. But talking about the ideas raised in books helps young people exercise their minds even more. This stimulation aids developing brains and can increase overall mental wellness.
Book clubs create a sense of connection. Reading and discussing books together is a shared experience that enables students to build meaningful relationships. Our book clubs are there for young people who might feel isolated or disconnected from their peers. They strengthen links between the older year groups (the book club leaders) and the younger ones (the book clubbers) while reinforcing a school’s reading-for-pleasure culture.
Finally, book clubs support personal growth. By reflecting on their own experiences and identities, young people gain a better understanding of themselves and others. This can help to promote self-awareness, positive self-esteem, and a sense of purpose – all critical for good mental health.
Coming out of the pandemic, young people need more emotional support than ever. Book clubs provide a fun environment away from the pressure of assessments, where there are no right or wrong answers. Our model makes book clubs easy for teaching staff as older pupils run them for younger pupils, and we provide all the resources and training.