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education Farmington, 55024

Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

They say you can't judge a book by its cover. And for good reason -- lots of times, you just don't know what you're going to find on the inside.


That's kind of true, two-fold, when it comes to the two new book clubs at Farmington High School.

The Fantasy Book Club and the Girls Book Club are still pretty new at FHS -- both of them were started in January --but so far, the clubs seem to have gathered some student interest. Reading specialist Kari Simonson has seven or eight in her Fantasy Book Club group, while English teacher Kim West has nine in her Girl's Book Club.

The members in both clubs choose the books they want to read. Both instructors brought lists of recommendations and let the students mull over the options. The fantasy group first read "Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1," and are working their ways through "The Lightning Thief." The Girl's Book Club chose, "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side" as its first selection.

The advisors tend to let the students point the direction of conversation -- and how far they're going to read between meetings. They touch on some of the things West teaches in her classroom, but for the most part, the advisors just let the conversation happen naturally.

"I don't want it to be an academic thing," West said.

But something else has happened in these groups -- students are getting over the class barriers and meeting new friends. Both clubs have members in grades 9-12, and the twice-weekly meetings and interaction is going a long way to getting students more comfortable with each other, Simonson said.

The idea for the book clubs actually came from media specialist Wendy Larson, who started to see the same students checking out the same kinds of books from the media center. She brought up the idea of book clubs, and Simonson and West followed up on the suggestion.

The book clubs generally meet during the advisory period of the school day -- about 20 minutes in the mid-morning hours of school -- so the meetings do not interfere with classwork or after school activities.