November 8, 2018

How to run a successful reading group


So, you decided to start your own book club. That’s wonderful. Now, how do you keep it running? Or, how do you create reading questions that are thoughtful and discussion worthy? Most importantly, how do you get everyone to meet on a regular basis?

Photo via Alan Lin/Unsplash

Fortunately, we have some great tips for you to keep your reading ship up and running, without going way of the Peaquod.

1. Stay on top of any scheduling conflicts. If a meeting gets canceled, reschedule it immediately. Any community group needs consistent meetings to stay afloat, and reading groups are no different. Of course, there’s some leeway with scheduling: online hangouts and conference calls can also help scheduling issues.

2. Take notes. The best way to ensure future success is to keep track of what your group is reading and discussing, meeting locations, guided questions, and more. The more organized your group is, the more likely people will attend your meetings on a regular basis.

3. Make sure everyone talks. This isn’t the time to enact mandatory participation like your sophomore English class. Instead, make sure that all of your group members get the chance to speak, ask questions, or start a conversation. When more people feel seen and heard, the discussion will flow freely.

4. Craft thoughtful discussion questions. Getting a conversation started can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. When drafting your own talking points, generate questions or prompts that are open-ended. In part, these questions get group members to share their own experiences and opinions, but the questions also guide readers to make connections to the book.

Looking for some Melville House reading group questions? Check out The Girl in the Red Coat with your book group.



Stephanie Valente is the Digital Marketing Manager at Melville House.