RLTA Remaining Readers Book Clubs

Daphne RobinsonBooks, Programs, Teachers

In the fall, once the Rochelle Lee Teacher Award (RLTA) Summer Institute is over and study groups begin working together, RLTA Awardees can carve time out of their busy schedules to join an optional book club. Teachers build community with educators outside of their school through Remaining Readers Book Clubs (RRBC). Current awardees and program alumni meet in a collegial setting to discuss a book with the same group of teachers October through May. Participants agree to the time commitment of 90 minutes a month and may miss one session to be eligible to receive continuing professional development units (CPDUs).

In October, each group has their initial meeting which is a little longer than the standard meetings to establish norms and make their future selections. All the groups read the same book for the first meeting. This year’s selection is Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin. The book is a memoir about a man who grew up with a love of America during wartime in Somalia and the challenges that he endured to get a green card to come to the United States. Previous first selections have been The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, and Salt Houses by Hala Alyan.

Teachers As Children As Readers

Remaining Readers Book Clubs has undergone a few changes in the past few years. Initially the groups, which were called “Teachers As Children As Readers” (TACAR), were mandatory for returning awardees (any participants after their first year as an awardee) and were held in person. In addition to the name change, the groups were made optional. For the second consecutive year the groups met on Zoom (because of the ongoing pandemic). Name change, optional participation, virtual meeting spaces; none of these things have made the interest in the book club wane.

I began participating in TACAR in 2010, when I was an awardee. I was so excited to finally be part of a really consistent book club. I have remained a part of the group, despite moving outside of the city, because I love having the opportunity to take a closer and deeper look at books, to hear opposing points of view, and to learn about books that may have missed my TBR stack.

Kathryn Swanson, alumna

Current awardee, Keya Carodine, a study group member, from LEARN Hunter Perkins said, “I choose to participate in RRBC because I love reading. Reading a good book allows me to momentarily escape my reality and keeps my imagination sharp. I love the group of people that I participate with. The discussions make me think about a book/character from different perspectives. It’s also great to have meaningful adult conversations.” Carodine also participated in the book club in 2020.

RRBC & Study Hall Participation

Remaining Readers Book clubs are open to current awardees or alumni. Any current awardees or alumni who are interested in joining a Remaining Readers group, please contact Daphne Robinson.

For other people interested in engaging in an in-depth book discussion, WITS also offers Study Hall. This virtual book club meets every two months and is open to all. Click here for more information on Study Hall.

I love our book club! I’m so glad that I was able to continue as an alumnus, and now as a retiree. I’ve been with this group about 10 years and find the members to be very insightful people. I always look forward to what they have to say about the books we’ve read. It’s amazing how different our perspectives can be! It’s also a safe place to voice conflicting ideas and views. I am proud to be a member of our group!

Joanne Young, alumna