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Oak girls start club for the love of reading

Just because school's out for the summer doesn't mean there's no more pencils and no more books.

Just ask a group of fifth-graders from Oak School, who started their own book club when school let out.

"I kind of wanted to continue reading during the summer, so I asked my teacher what would be good to do," said Katherine Johnson, who started the club. "She said, 'what about a book club?' And I said, 'hey, that's a pretty good idea.'"

The group of girls meet once a week to discuss a book of a member's choosing.

Though they all take turns selecting a book, they choose from a fifth-grade reading list given to them by their school librarian.

"We didn't pick any books that we couldn't find in a library," Johnson said. "We didn't want to force anyone to buy a book."

Johnson and her fellow members laid down a few ground rules for choosing a book.

"You have to be able to read it in a week, and you have to be interested in the subject," she said.

But none of the girls are too strict - after all, it is summer.

"If you just want to read it, that's OK," Johnson said. "We want meetings always to be fun - no serious stuff.

"And our policy is that if you don't finish a book, it's OK."

The girls follow an agenda at the meetings, beginning with business items, such as changes in the meeting schedule and the possibility of adding new members.

Then they decide which book they're going to read next, and only then do they sit down to the business of discussing that week's book.

The member who chooses the book gets to decide how to discuss it. Each member tries to do things a little differently than they do in school.

When it was Emily Weissman's turn to lead a discussion on "Castle in the Attic" by Elizabeth Winthrop, she made up a game called "Castle Tag."

"When we read 'Ginger Pye' (by Eleanor Estes), we made up the same kind of thing," said Samantha Friedman, explaining the game she and the other members made up to try and find a hidden pie.

And when the girls read "Peppermints in the Parlor" by Barbara Brooks Wallace, they put on a play with scenes taken from the book.

After three weeks of meetings, the girls are still having a good time and plan to extend the club into the new school year.

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