Audio Book Club ideas for Read Easy groups

We have been thinking about how Audio Book Clubs could be great way of keeping in touch both during the lockdown and in the future. Potentially helping to provide supported reading activities for our Readers and supporting volunteers during social distancing and self-isolation.

Ideally, we would recommend always choosing titles that are available both as a book and an audio book, so that your book club can be accessible for everyone, including your group’s Readers. 

Your book club could simply involve listening to audio books and some discussion, or you might decide to discuss poetry, letters or plays, or compare the film of a book to the book itself.

A Read Easy group could set up a book club in a number of different ways, offering different benefits during the coronavirus lockdown, or indeed at any other time. Read on to find out more about the book club ideas your group could consider.

Coaches’ Book Club

Organised by the Coordinator or a member of the Management Team, this would be a book club for your group’s Coaches and could offer them a wonderful way to stay in touch while normal coaching sessions and Coach meetings are on hold.

Book club meetings could be held over Zoom or Skype, facilitated by the Coordinator or Management Team member running the book club. Should your group have some Coaches who don’t have access to Zoom or Skype, you could consider pairing up these Coaches to ‘meet’ separately over the telephone.

Management Team & Coordinator Book Club

As above, a book club for the Management Team members and Coordinator could be a great way for the team to stay in touch and get together socially while normal Read Easy meetings are on hold.

Read Easy Group Book Club

A book club that encompasses Coaches, Management Team members and Coordinator(s), could help to forge relationships and offer support across all those involved in volunteering with your group.

Read Easy Group Community Book Club

As a local organisation known to be passionate about reading, your group could use the lockdown period to introduce a book club for the community in your area. Using your group’s Facebook page, you could create posts and videos to promote your book club, explaining that at this time your group is looking to do something a little out of its normal remit, with the aim of bringing people in the area together through a love of books and reading.

We would suggest that you arrange a launch date of your book club, and set a regular event on your Facebook page for a book club ‘meeting’ when you could discuss up to a suggested point in the book. You could broadcast a live video on Facebook covering some of the discussion points listed below, or simply write a Facebook post with questions, which people respond to with comments.

You could also invite book club members to share their favourite book recommendations in a video or post on your Facebook page.

Suggested pointers for Book Club discussions:

  • Some people think the first sentence of a book is the most important. Would you agree or disagree with that, based on this book?
  • Who’s your favourite character and why?
  • If you could meet one of the characters right now, what would you say to them?
  • Do you find the characters convincing? Are they believable?
  • Which characters do you particularly admire or dislike? What are their primary characteristics?
  • Is the plot well developed? Is it believable? Do you feel manipulated along the way, or do plot events unfold naturally?
  • If you were to talk with the author, what would you want to know?
  • Consider the ending. Did you expect it or were you surprised?
  • If you were writing a sequel, what would you plan for the characters?

Free Audio Books for Coaches & Readers – April 2020

The Listening Books Library

This charity provides access to a huge library of audio books. You’ll find books from favourite authors such as Ruth Rendell, Agatha Christie, Alan Bennett, Maeve Binchy, Lee Child, Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, Dick Francis, Roald Dahl and David Walliams to name just a few! Their website is: https://www.listening-books.org.uk and you can view the full catalogue by following this link: https://www.listening-books.org.uk/library.aspx and searching by title, genre or author.

Audible

‘Audible’ is an online library. It allows you to stream some stories for free to your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet, and you can open an account to access other books. No account or sign in is required for free books.

The free categories you can choose from include, amongst other things, Literary Classics and Folk Tales and all the Harry Potter books. Discover more at https://stories.audible.com/

Open Culture

1000 free audio books – mainly classics including fiction, non-fiction and poetry which are downloadable to a MP3 Player or a computer. In addition, there are 800 free books for IPad, Kindle and other devices. Search for a title from an alphabetical list by author’s name at http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks

Google Play

There are free audio books available on the google play app. Download the Google Play app and search for free audio books to select from 14,000 classic books.

Enjoy and we’d love to hear about your book club. Find us on Facebook and Twitter @readeasyuk.

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