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Book Review: Next Chapter Book Club

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The Next Chapter Book Club Cover image courtesy of Woodbine House

The Bottom Line

by Tom Fish & Paula Rabidoux, with Jillian Ober & Vicki L.W. Graff; 200 pages. Subtitle: A Model Community Literacy Program for People With Intellectual Disabilities

Finding ways to learn and participate in the community after leaving school can be hard for adults with intellectual disabilities. Next Chapter Book Clubs offer a great opportunity to do both and have fun, and this book is a complete guide to understanding, starting, and facilitating these weekly get-togethers. It's a great idea, though one parents may have to find someone else to manage.

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Pros

  • This is a great idea for a social group for people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Emphasizes need to meet out in the community, where members can see and be seen.
  • Gives detailed information about what the clubs are, and how to start them and run them.
  • Includes CD with forms, questionnaires, and other materials.
  • Many of the exercises mentioned could work as enrichment for younger kids.

Cons

  • There are training expenses involved in start-up that might be a problem for some groups.
  • Need for a paid coordinator may also be a dilemma.
  • Most parents will need to find an agency to run the club before they can get their kids involved.
  • Need to find a cafe or restaurant that will welcome a group reading loudly aloud.
  • Generally limited to members with ID, though adults with other disabilities might benefit.

Description

  • Chapter 1: What Is the Next Chapter Book Club?
    Chapter 2: Why Should You Start a Next Chapter Book Club in Your Community?
  • Chapter 3: Who Are NCBC Affiliates?
    Chapter 4: What Happens at an NCBC Affiliate Training Workshop?
  • Chapter 5: How Do Local Program Coordinators Run an NCBC Program?
    Chapter 6: Who Are NCBC Members?
  • Chapter 7: What Do NCBC Members Want to Know About Their Club?
    Chapter 8: Who Are NCBC Facilitators?
  • Chapter 9: What Do NCBC Facilitators Do?
    Chapter 10: What Are NCBC Host Sites?
  • Chapter 11: What Is the Role of Families and Support Staff?
  • Chapter 12: What Strategies and Activities Do Book Clubs Use?
    Chapter 13: How Do You Market and Promote the NCBC Program?
  • Chapter 14: How Can You Evaluate the NCBC Program?
  • Chapter 15: Conclusion: What's the Next Chapter?
  • Chapter 16: Frequently Asked Questions and Special Considerations

Guide Review - Book Review: Next Chapter Book Club

My son attends a social group every Friday night in our town's recreation center for people with special needs, where activities range from indoor volleyball to board games to crafts to just hanging around together. There are many adults with intellectual disabilities in this group, and I thought about them a lot while reading Next Chapter Book Club. As nice as it is to get together with each other in a nice big contained room, how cool it might be to meet in a Starbucks or a bookstore cafe, to read books and chat and be part of the scene. That's the idea of NCBC -- to get people with intellectual disabilities out of rooms and rec centers and into the public square. And if they improve their reading skills in the process, so much the better.

The club concept was developed at the Nisonger Center at Ohio State University, which has a mission to "work with communities to value and support the meaningful participation of people with disabilities of all ages through education, service and research." There are now clubs in fifteen states, plus Canada and Germany. If there's not one in a town near you, this book explains exactly how to go about starting one, from getting training to recruiting facilitators to locating host sites to managing members. There are also some good educational exercises outlined, and plenty of supporting materials both in the appendices and on a CD that's included with the book.

The frustration of books like this for parents, often, is that we can see the need and we can want to send our young people to something like this, but there's enough expense and infrastructure involved that it's not something we can just do. It's another book to read yourself and then pass on to somebody who can do something about it. But getting the ball rolling is a worthy part of the process, too.

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