Last March, outside of the Lower School Maker space, the seeds of innovation were sown when Madelyn S. and Blake R. shared their vision with Molly Hudson, Director of Lower School. Their idea was simple yet powerful, to create a book club for kids that would make reading an exciting adventure. Intrigued, Mrs. Hudson encouraged them to share more about their vision, and that’s when the magic began to happen.

A Vision for Young Readers

Madelyn and Blake envisioned a book club tailored specifically for second and third grade girls. They aimed to create a space where young minds could not only read but also get excited about the world of books. Their inspiration? Their parents’ book clubs, which left them wondering why kids couldn’t have their own version of a book club.

The PlayMaker Class Catalyst

Mrs. Hudson realized it was a golden opportunity for them to shape this vision through Mount Vernon’s PlayMaker classes. The girls met with Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Stillwagon. The pressure was on because the PlayMaker catalog was set to be sent out to parents in just a few weeks. Despite the tight timeline, these young visionaries came prepared. They had an agenda, including book ideas and the atmosphere they wanted to create. Their dream was for the club to be a cozy, enjoyable space where kids could bring stuffed animals and, most importantly, have fun while learning about the joys of reading.

Choosing the Perfect Series

The girls were also passionate about ensuring that kids continued reading even after the PlayMaker class. After some brainstorming, they agreed that a series would be the perfect choice. That’s when they stumbled upon the “Magic Tree House”, the #1 New York Times Best Selling Series that follows the adventures of Jack and Annie in a magical tree house, and offers 50 captivating books to choose from, ensuring a wealth of reading material. They decided to follow Mount Vernon’s tradition of giving students the freedom to choose their own books. They planned to offer a sample, let students form groups, and dive into the captivating worlds of the “Magic Tree House.” Just like in an adult book club, they would provide thematic snacks to make the experience even more immersive. The girls picked two books for the group to choose from: Night of the Ninjas or Sunset of the Sabertooth.

Mrs. Hudson explained that content building is essential for understanding the material, citing the example “if you never studied about prehistoric times you might not understand what a sabertooth tiger is.” In the upcoming class, they will focus on building background knowledge and students will have some independent work to prepare for discussions. Mrs. Hudson mentioned that in the reading sessions, both group and individual reading will be encouraged, as students expressed a preference for both methods, allowing them to immerse themselves in the content while having the option to be read to as well.

When we asked Madelyn what she thought the impact of the magic book club would be, she responded by saying, “I think people will really like to read after they do it, because they’ll realize that it takes them on a very magical adventure through the Magic Tree House series.”

The Journey Begins

After being featured in the PlayMaker catalog, no one knew if the club would have any interest…but to everyone’s excitement it filled quickly and even had a waiting list!

Last week 12 enthusiastic second and third grade students started their reading adventure as the first PlayMaker classes started. Madelyn and Blake stepped into their roles as the young teachers, with Mrs. Stillwagon and Mrs. Hudson as their assistants. The kids embarked on their reading journey, their imaginations soaring as they delved into the world of “The Magic Tree House.”

What made it truly special was that this club was entirely theirs – a club created by kids, for kids.