Since 2014, Book Clubs in Schools’ mission is to instil a life-long love of reading and develop social and communications skills for young people. So far, we have worked with over 12,000 pupils in 45 schools, mostly in schools which have high percentages of pupils eligible for free school meals.

We thought that it was vital to continue to provide book clubs during this time, as these pupils have been worst affected by the lockdown and the social mobility gap keeps widening.  Through talking to the schools, we work with, we discovered that whilst pupils may have access to a phone or a computer, but it may be for the entire family not just for them.

Up until March 2020, we delivered cross-age, peer-led book clubs face-to-face,  training the Book Club Leaders to deliver the book clubs to younger pupils and providing in-person support to schools. The book clubs were made up of small groups of pupils, eight Book Clubbers working with two Book Club Leaders.

As lockdown has affected our schools and our pupils, we wanted to find a way to keep everyone reading for pleasure and chatting about books. Using a mix of video conferencing applications (depending on what each school is familiar with) we are now running online book clubs. As with our normal model, older pupils lead the book clubs for their younger peers in small groups, the essential element of our programme. Four schools are currently piloting the scheme, and two more will be joining them. If your school is interested in joining the BCiS online programme, please get in touch info@bookclubsinschools.org

Book clubs help all pupils, but particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds to catch up on literacy, communication and social skills. Our delivery method is new, but our mission remains the same.