Brown Bag Book Club is an innovative way to help Franklin kids learn

Monday, November 30, 2009
Literacy Coach Linda Robert, right, gestures to one of her students in her Brown Bag Book Club at Franklin Elementary School in Cape Girardeau. The club meetings are conducted during the lunch period, and held in an intimate room on the second floor. Students and parents are invited to attend the meetings which enhance comprehenson and social skills.

When students show up for this class, they're not toting book bags--they are toting lunch bags or cafeteria trays. Now in its third year, the Brown Bag Book Club is the brainstorm of Linda Robert, Franklin Elementary School's literary coach, who received a grant from the Cape Girardeau Public School Foundation to fund the program.

The innovative class is conducted in a cozy room on the second floor during the period when children normally would be having lunch in the school cafeteria. "Kids carry their lunches up here and sit in a circle while I read to them," Robert said. "They can invite a guest--usually their parents--to join them, and we average about 40 parents a month," she added.

To get everyone in the circle involved, and to enhance comprehension skills learned in the classroom, Robert uses a "turn to your guest" structure to answer questions posed every few pages during the reading. "Everyone gets a chance to provide input, and this enhances social skills," Robert explained.

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