Extra Information

Truly, any facet of ‘A Society of Literary Scholars’ that speaks to you is fine to use in isolation or in combination with any other facet.

‘Basically, any aspect of this program can be implemented on its own or mixed and mingled. It’s your choice.’ 

As individuals, we can only do what we can do. And that is okay! In this manner, you should be able to make this program work for you and within your individual educational constraints.

One more thing, this program works beautifully on a smaller scale and can easily be implemented in a single classroom or grade level. Regardless of the program size, encourage your participants to actively engage in the process of owning the program. Give them the foundation of the three main components and then let their creative juices flow. Amazing things can happen as a result.

A ‘Society of Literary Scholars’ is a win-win for all involved.

*To help you catch the vision, check out these FREE items. They really will help you to understand how this program works!

Lower Grade (1st-3rd) Society Challenge Sample Bundle


Upper-Grade (4th-6th) Society Challenge Sample Bundle 

If you have any questions, please let me know. I would be more than happy to answer them. This is my passion, something I fully believe in and love sharing with others. I would love to hear from you or help you spread the word to any of your peers or co-workers.

Paige – ‘O Classroom! My Classroom!’2017 - A Society of Literary Scholars Presentation.003.jpeg

*To help you catch the vision check out these FREE items. They really will help you to understand how this program works!


From Theory to Fruition

Taking a ‘Society’ from theory to fruition can be overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be. In order to fund ‘A Society of Scholars’ at your school there is a high probability that you will need to request donations, appeal for sponsorship, and/or apply for grants.

None of these things are difficult to do but they will take time and effort. There are quite a few sites floating around that can steer you towards appropriate grant applications.

*Note: Information below won’t necessarily apply to all readers!

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Here are some ways you can find funding!

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Remember: ‘People want and are often willing to help, if you are willing to take the time to personally touch base with them and ask for their support.’


As always, you’ve got options!

In addition to the three main components:

  1. Books of the Month’/’Society Meetings,’
  2. ‘The First Readers Club,’ and
  3. ‘Biannual Challenges,’ there are some additional supporting pieces that you may choose to integrate into your own ‘Society’ program. 

•Side Note: These pieces are not necessary but they can add extra interest and personalization to the reading program as a whole.

•Truth: Sharing ‘this part’ of the ‘Society’ with you makes me feel a bit like a charlatan. I have spent hundreds of hours developing this reading program so that it can be easily implemented and sustainable for any teacher, classroom, and/or school. Part of those hours were spent developing wonderful supporting pieces that enrich the program as a whole and fully complete my vision for a well-rounded reading initiative. I know that anything ‘needed’ for the program can be re-created by any individual who wants to put forth the effort. On the other hand, I also know, as with all things in life, that sometimes it is an acceptable tradeoff to spend some money in exchange for saving time and energy.

So, if you have an ‘awesome idea that you know will work if you do,’ then, by all means, go for it! But, if you need some additional scaffolding and support feel free to check out my pre-made items that will make things easier for you.

This is NOT a sales pitch, it’s truly all good no matter which path you choose.

As with most people, I want to know that I made a difference in this world. This program is just one of my many attempts to make the world a better place for those who live in it. My focus is on ‘selling’ my idea and not ‘selling’ a product.

Fact: ‘It is all about empowering children through the great equalizer, otherwise known as an ability to read.’

OPTION 1: Personalized Invitations


*You can find them here & here! (Yes, SOME ARE FREE SO CLICK AWAY!!!)

Why I encourage personalized invitations – Invitations to the ‘Monthly Meetings’ can help bring a sense of pride and ownership to the students as they are invited to attend ‘Society Meetings.’ These can be in the form of a standard letter with a wax seal, a pre-printed postcard, or even a ‘Society Bookmark’ decorated with a date and time.

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OPTION 2: Personalized Posters

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*You can find them here!

Why I encourage personalized posters – Posters can also encourage a sense of school-wide community and collaboration. They can be used to decorate the halls of a school and help advertise the chosen ‘Book of the Month.’ (I have had great success backing these on foam board and then sticking them above the drinking fountains of our school with command strips. I then add a clear sheet protector to the front of the poster so I can easily slip in and out printed book covers representing each month’s chosen book!)

OPTION 3: Society Book Tasting

Why I encourage holding a ‘Society Book Tasting’ – A back to school book tasting can provide an opportunity for all parents, educators, and students to preview the carefully chosen titles and authors that will be focused on throughout the year and get excited about what is to come. It’s an easy and effective way to get everyone on the same page!

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(What makes this program different?) It’s Utterly Unique

‘My favorite part of this program is that it is for all students, both students learning to read and reading to learn.’

Consequently, the challenges are the single most unique aspect of the program. They should be specifically tailored so all children can participate, regardless of whether they have actually read every book on the list, some books on the list, or none of the books on the list.

The challenges should be directly related to the books and their stories but they should not be dependent on the books having been read. Granted, a student who has read or been exposed to the stories should have a slight advantage over a student who has not.

Remember, the goal of this particular program is not necessarily that every child is going to love reading but rather that every child will make reading progress in a nurtured and positive way. I want to see children interested in engaging with the text! Incremental movement in a positive direction is the ultimate goal and the challenges provide a differentiated path for every single student to actively participate.

‘I don’t know of any other program that works this way.’2017 - A Society of Literary Scholars Presentation.021.jpeg

Component 3 – (School Wide) Society Challenges

During a school year, two ‘Challenges’ are held between grade levels. The first ‘Challenge’ of the year should focus on the first four books off the book list and the second ‘Challenge’ should focus on the last four books. ‘Challenges’ are a critical component of the reading program and a chance for students to show off their comprehension skills and reading knowledge.

‘They Challenges  are also a chance for an entire school to simultaneously engage and bond while focusing on reading and books.’

2017 - A Society of Literary Scholars Presentation.019.jpegIn a similar fashion to the ‘Monthly Society Meetings,’ the dates and times of challenges are on a need to know basis. Students love hearing their Principal over the intercom randomly shutting down the school day in order for everyone to freeze what they are doing and immediately follow the instructions to participate in a timed challenge.

From direct experience, I can confidently say that during each ‘Challenge,’ the entire school buzzes with activity as students, educators, and staff focus on composing answers and/or projects directly related to the ‘Society Books of the Month.’ It is a beautiful thing!

Because the books vary from challenge to challenge, no two challenges are exactly alike. As a result, students and adults quickly realize that it is important to read as many books on the list as possible for the bi-annual ‘Challenges.’

*To help you catch the vision, check out these FREE items. They really will help you to understand how this program works!

Lower Grade (1st-3rd) Society Challenge Sample Bundle


Upper-Grade (4th-6th) Society Challenge Sample Bundle 

(Tangent over) Component 2 – The Society of Literary Scholars ‘First Readers Club’

Now officially back to the ‘Monthly Meetings.’

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Component two of the reading program is the final thing that should occur at a meeting.

During the last ten minutes, students should be given the opportunity to check out a copy of the monthly title and to officially join the ‘Societies First Readers Club.’

‘First Readers’ are students who attend a meeting and are given the chance to check out a brand new copy of the monthly ‘Society’ title from the school library. After reading their copy of the book, these students will be known as the ‘First Readers.’

They have the perk of reading a brand new book before anyone else and the responsibility of setting an example for other readers in the school to follow.

Some individuals believe it is critical that all students who attend a meeting be allowed to check out a book and join the ‘First Readers Club.’ Other individuals believe that the opportunity for every child to possibly check out a book at the end of a meeting is important but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every child will get to check out a book.

If for some reason the number of brand new books available at a meeting is less than the number of students attending a meeting, you can get creative and randomly choose which honored students attending will be allowed to check out books and officially join the ‘First Readers Club.’ (Of course, you will want to make it clear that the students attending the ‘Monthly Meeting’ who are not checking out a book on the day of, will have priority in checking out the books when they are returned.)

When the students return their ‘First Readers’ edition book to the library they are given a special ‘First Readers’ label to sign and stick on the cover of the book.

This is a super inexpensive and manageable aspect of the program that results in loads of interest and excitement from the students. Once the books have cycled through the school library for a year or two, they can eventually be added to the guided reading library and teacher’s personal classroom libraries. This allows all of the ‘First Reader’ editions to live on throughout the school.

Due to the nature of the ‘First Reader’ books living on, students will at some point pick up a book to read and then happily discover that their neighbor, brother, sister, and/or best friend was the book’s original ‘First Reader.’

Tangent – In the Spirit of Truth and Honesty

In the spirit of truth, I have to let you know that the monthly meetings take on a life of their own depending on the individual volunteers. I have seen many wonderful meetings held following the format in the previous post.

‘They are simple, to the point, and accomplish exactly what they need to.’

I have also seen many wonderful meetings that completely stray from the format.

Some random ‘Society Meetings’ I have attended consisted of chicken poop divinity treats, chemical reaction potion making, Harry Potter style sorting hats, cereal box villages, snowball fights, paper boats, recreated Berlin Walls, birthday cakes, and wondrous words of wisdom sneakily appearing on classroom doors.

And in the spirit of honesty, I can say that regardless of how a ‘Society Meeting’ is run if the focus is on the fun and enjoyment of a good story, a good book, then anything goes.

As my insanely talented and creative brother so famously said,

‘Everything I needed to know about creativity I learned by making mis….’

– Tanner Christensen (Creative Something)

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The (Kind of) Important (Loose) Meeting Format

Kind of‘ and ‘loose,’ truly mean exactly that!

Mediators can choose to spend or not spend their time doing the following:

  • Ten to fifteen minutes can be dedicated to explaining why the meeting mediator personally loves the book. Keeping things as authentic as possible!
  • Another ten minutes can be spent introducing background knowledge needed to enjoy reading the book. (Book teasers, videos, author biographies, along with possible stories behind the story, discussion about additional books in a series, additional books by the author etc.) 2017 - A Society of Literary Scholars Presentation.015.jpeg
  • Fifteen to twenty minutes can be used for reading excerpts from the book aloud. The goal for this aspect of a meeting is to leave students hanging on to the edge of their seats waiting to know what happens next! Basically, a mediator’s goal is to have the students so interested in the story that they have no choice but to frantically begin reading it.
  • An additional five to ten minutes can be spent on Q and A, just warn mediators to not give away too much of the good stuff.


Hand in hand with the monthly ‘Society’ books are the monthly ‘Society’ meetings. 

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Note: All meetings for the year should be scheduled on the school-wide calendar ahead of time so those who ‘need to know’ such as school staff are aware of when and where each meeting will take place.

With that said, it is important to keep interest and engagement alive, so although the highlighted monthly book titles should be shared with parents and the local library at the beginning of the year, students and families are unaware of when actual ‘Society’ meetings will occur.

Why? Because, it’s that exciting suspense of knowing a meeting is bound to happen at some point, but not knowing exactly when. It reminds me of Disneyland, specifically the ride Splash Mountain. I always know there is a high probability I will get wet when I ride but I don’t necessarily know exactly when and that is what makes the ride fun.

That natural sense of suspense is perfect for rides at Disneyland and for school-wide reading programs.

Along the same lines, students can only attend a Monthly Meeting of the Society Scholars by invitation. Of course, they should never know when they are going to be invited until the moment it actually happens.

There are countless ways you can personally invite students to attend a monthly meeting and if you’ll hold tight I will share them with you in the near future! 

Regardless of how you invite students, just make sure that each and every student is asked to attend at least one meeting per year.

Yes, this means once a month for about an hour, each teacher in your school will have to sacrifice a few of their students in order for them to attend a meeting. At first, teachers in your school may bristle a bit but when they realize the tradeoff they get in return they will jump on the supportive bandwagon.

Truly, once they see that the juice is worth the squeeze they will be in full favor of supporting Society meetings. I promise!

(And . . . ‘A promise must never be broken.’ – Alexander Hamilton)


*A Brief Overview


At monthly meetings, students will have opportunities to engage as volunteers (consisting of educators, school staff, parents, and special guests) guide them through the new reading material for the month.

It is extremely important that volunteers ‘own’ their meetings. This means that they choose to volunteer on their own accord for a book and meeting that truly tickles their own personal fancy. When all is said and done volunteers are encouraged to manage the meetings however they like as long as they somehow accomplish the goal of getting students excited about the monthly book. If meeting mediators are enjoying themselves than the students will have a great time as well.

Component 1 (Part 1) THE ‘SOCIETY’ BOOK OF THE MONTH

Now that I have flashed my Einstein picture/quote AND included some brag pictures of my adorable children, it is officially time for me to delve into exactly how the ‘Society’ works. (Sincerely, thanks for sticking around!) 

The first component of the ‘Society’ centers on the backbone of the program, the specifically chosen books of the month. This equates to one highlighted book per month for a school year of September through April.

Specifically, I am talking about two lists of eight books. One set for the lower grades (1st through 3rd) and one set for upper grades (4th through 6th). This equals sixteen books total for eight months of a school year. By creating two categories you are able to choose books that truly reflect the stages and ages of all individual students.

(As an aside: Personal experience leads me to encourage you to use four chapter books and four picture books for the lower grades that alternate month to month!)

When choosing books, don’t forget to make sure they are enjoyable to the masses!

‘Go against educator nature and don’t worry or even think about text level or difficulty.’

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Simply choose books based on overall favorites and interest.