Oxford Elementary students start Wildcat Super Reader Book Club

The Super Readers Book Club built shelters out of cardboard during the monthly in-person meeting at Oxford Public Library. The activity went along with the theme of the book Hatchet, a story about a young boy who has to survive in the wilderness after a plane crash. Photo by Jim Newell

By Jim Newell
Managing Editor
OXFORD – Kellen Fairchild and Lotus LaCelle love to read.
So much so that the two fourth graders at Oxford Elementary started their own book club, reviewing books on their Facebook page with regular chapter reviews, offering selected activities and crafts to complement each book and encouraging others to engage in the discussion.
Kellen and Lotus started the Wildcat Super Readers Book Club, a private group on Facebook administered by Kellen’s mom, Erica. The two want more young readers throughout Oxford to join the group and see what the book club is like while making new friends and reading fun and informative books.
Now, Kellen and Lotus are leading activities, about one a month, in a regular in-person meeting at the Oxford Public Library. In December, the club discussed Hatchet, a 1986 Newbery-winning young adult wilderness survival novel, by American writer Gary Paulsen.
“One night they were playing and came up with the idea that they wanted to start a book club,” Erica said. “This club is geared for our high potential readers. So, it’s readers who are either at grade level or above and are striving to be challenged and pushed to the next level of reading.”
These are the kids who want to read books outside of their normal curriculum, seeking new challenges and reading experiences.
“Inside of the school district there are a ton of programs and interventions for the striving readers, so this one is targeted for the ones that are wanting to be challenged,” Erica said.
The book club has 29 members who are part of the virtual portion of the club. The club will meet in person for the local kids, but some members are located in Troy and Rochester and two from the Grand Rapids area, so the club will meet regularly online as well.
“We decided to do this because we just love books. And it helps us learn. We chose this book (Hatchet) because it teaches people to never give up,” said Kellan, 9. “My favorite book is this book.”
“I like to read and there aren’t a lot of book clubs for advanced readers so we thought we might start one for advanced readers,” said Lotus, 9, adding that her favorite book is Charlotte’s Web. “There’s lots of book clubs for behind readers, but not that many for advanced readers.”
During the December in-person meeting, Lotus and Kellen led the students in “survival” activities that included building their own shelter out of cardboard and sanding wooden spoons. And, of course, after an evening’s work they indulged in some of the treats brought in by parents and donated by area businesses.
Lotus enjoys meeting with club members in person is best, and said it has made her feel more comfortable speaking in front of other kids and leading meeting projects.
“I like going in person because I can lead the fun activities that everyone gets to do,” Lotus said. “It’s good, separate things in groups.”
“I like to do the Zoom meetings, and I like to make kind of jokes sometimes,” Kellan said, adding he also wants more kids to join the book club. “Yes, we do. The more the merrier. I like meeting new people and seeing new faces. I like making more friends. This is a way to make more friends too.”
“We passed out flyers in my classroom, and they also passed out flyers in Kellan’s classroom,” Lotus said.
And how important is it to become a reader?
“It’s really important because being a reader helps you grow. It makes you smarter. It informs you about the world. And it’s just fun too,” Lotus said.
As a parent, Erica said she is extremely proud of what Kellen and Lotus have done.
“Really excited, really proud. You have to have leadership and communication, and all those traits to speak in front of people and navigate challenging situations. I couldn’t do that at nine years old. So, I’m really proud of them – just to have the idea and to run this. They had the idea, they run this, they pick the crafts.
If kids want to participate, they need to sign up through the club’s Facebook page, which allows for regular contact and information sharing about what the club is currently reading.
“They should definitely join virtually. They can go back and look at the videos and do the fun activities. Then, they can look for the upcoming videos because what we talk about in person as far as the book material, Lotus and Kellan are doing on video as well,” Erica said.
“The program started virtually where Kellan and Lotus were meeting once a week, talking about three or four chapters at a time. They would post their videos online. Kids would either comment back or send videos back,” said Erica. “Then they would post and activity, like a word search, a comic strip to do, some sort of engagement tool. So that’s really how their platform started. Then they wanted to something in person. We’ve been doing in-person for a few meetings now.”

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