Building Community – One Book at a Time!

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” – Cicero

This Friday, Link is kicking off the newly formed Slavic Village Parent Book Club, and I’m excited! Of all the parent programs Link offers, Book Clubs are my personal favorite. I love to read and I love to talk about books … what a great job to have!

As with all our Book Clubs, we will start with the young adult novel Seedfolks, by Paul Fleischman. Seedfolks, if you haven’t read it, is a beautiful story full of diverse and interesting characters. It is always the first book we read in Parent Book Club, as it tells the story of disconnected neighbors coming together to build community around a garden – a garden started by a young girl. In a way, Seedfolks is an allegory for our Parent Book Clubs. Based at our children’s schools, we come together originally because of our kids. Once we get to know each other, we realize how much we enjoy each other’s company and community is born!

In addition to building community, the Parent Book Club mirrors what children experience in reading workshops in their classrooms – they share ideas and experiences, while getting to know more about themselves and each other. At our meetings, parents will have the opportunity to read and respond to literature with some of the same strategies their children are exposed to in the classroom, enabling them to dialogue with their children using the language of school. Perhaps most importantly, parents model for their children the joy to be found in reading a great book.

The Parent Book Club is just one of several programs Link offers to foster the connection between home and school. Parents are incredibly important to their children’s education; yet the worlds of home and school are often separate, and can leave parents feeling isolated from their children’s school experiences. By providing parents with the opportunity to meet together as a community and explore the home-school connection, we can bridge that gap.

Often, parents are joined by grandparents, friends, teachers, and even administrators at the book club. This opportunity to connect with each other on a social level – and not just around your child’s grades – is particularly special. Once we know each other as people, we’re more likely to understand and appreciate our respective roles as parent and educator. One teacher in a book club really connected the story behind Seedfolks to her own love of gardening. She shared that love – and the story – with her young students. Together, they planted some tomatoes, which she gave to parents at the next book club meeting.  Everyone was overjoyed to have the plants, of course; who doesn’t love fresh tomatoes? But we were moved most by the thought behind the gesture. Someone at our children’s school was thinking of us, and wanted to share her joy and her talents with us.

Link has been facilitating Parent Book Clubs in schools and districts across greater Cleveland for over ten years. And parents have told us they love it: “What a fantastic program! Not only are we as adults reminded of how to read analytically — and thereby relate more closely to our kids, but we are nurturing our souls and building a stronger community through relationships.”

In other words, why should kids have all the fun?

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The Slavic Village Parent Book Club is funded through the Third Federal Foundation of Cleveland. It is part of the neighborhood P-16 initiative which brings people and organizations together to create strong communities so that “every child in the neighborhood experiences high quality learning that strengthens their talents, expands their resiliency and prepares to be productive citizens…”  We will meet monthly at the Boys and Girls Club at 6114 Broadway. Join us for one of our meetings; we look forward to reading with you soon!

  • Friday, September 30, 9:30 am
  • Friday, October 28, 9:30 am
  • Friday, December 2, 9:30 am

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