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January 27, 2010 > Homeschool Book Club

Homeschool Book Club

By Alyson Whitaker
Photos By courtesy of

Janine Weston is no stranger to the library. With a Master's degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University, the homeschooling mom of three knows the importance of instilling a love of books in her children. While searching for enrichment activities to add to her homeschool curriculum, Janine saw a homeschool book club meeting in San Jose on a monthly basis. Her interest piqued, fdshe began searching for something similar closer to home. When nothing was found, she approached the Fremont Main Library with a proposal in hand.

Together, Weston and the Children's Services Division of the Alameda County Library came together and formed the 'Homeschool Book Club . . . at your library.'

The first meeting was held January 6. Approximately 20 people were in attendance, with homeschooled children ranging from ages four to thirteen. Each child brought a book they had recently read, and took turns sharing their book with the group. The parents discussed their expectations and desires for the group, and their ideas for how to accomplish them.

While some of the specifics of the group are still in the development phase, the long-term goal of the group is clear - to encourage literacy in children. In mainstream education, students develop public speaking skills through book reports and class presentations. The book club will give homeschooled children this same opportunity. Every month, the children will be encouraged to present a book of their choice to the group.

Gail Orwig, an Alameda County Library employee, instructed the group on the basics of 'book talks' at their January meeting. Gail is involved in introducing the concept of 'book talking' in the Fremont Unified School District. This consists of presenting basic information on the book, along with a brief excerpt or jingle, and a bit of suspense . . . she reminded students to never give away the ending of a book. "You'll have to read it to find out what happens!"

With a homeschool group, there are varied ages and skill levels, which Janine wants to encourage and build upon. As the young children listen to the older students present their books, they will be challenged to push their own reading skills. Older students will have an opportunity to mentor the younger ones, in a safe, nurturing environment. Parents are encouraged to bring their own books to share as well, modeling the behavior for the children.

It is Janine's hope that the group can become a 'reader's advisory' of sorts, offering suggestions on great books to read. As parents, kids, and families connect through the book club, all who attend and participate have something to gain.

The group meets from 1 - 2 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month in the Children's Storytime Theatre at the Fremont Main Library. The next meeting is scheduled for February 3.

For more information, contact Janine Weston at (510) 299-2586 or

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