Next Chapter Book Club provides adolescents and adults with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities the opportunity to read and learn to read, talk about books, and make friends in a fun, community setting. As part of a national movement, Next Chapter Book Clubs across North America meet weekly in local bookstores and cafés to read aloud and discuss the books of their choice. Book Club members range from those who read well to those who cannot read independently. The Next Chapter Book Club model promotes social connections, literacy learning and community inclusion.
The premise is simple: a group of people, most with intellectual disabilities and a wide range of reading skills gather to read aloud and discuss a book for one hour a week. Much like members of any other book club, Next Chapter Book Club members choose which book to read and how they would like to structure their club. They meet in a public location which provides an opportunity to interact with the community while promoting inclusion and acceptance. Adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities enjoy reading and learning, making friends, and enjoying a fun community gathering place. NCBC members improve literacy skills, make friends, take part in the community, and have a lot of fun doing it!
DSAMT’s club meets Tuesday nights from 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM at the Target on White Bridge Road in the Starbucks Café and is led by Beth who is also a sibling of an individual with Down syndrome. Anyone can participate, no matter their reading or ability level. The group says any adult can join them, but it is best to start at the beginning of a book. The attendees describe the group as extremely fun, NOT boring like you would think a reading club might be, funny, and a no-judgement zone. Every member of this group says they have improved their reading and understanding of books since starting the Book Club. There is a lot of laughter throughout the evening, and you can see the support the members have for each other and the great friendships made. NCBC is very team oriented, they respect the other members, and everyone’s opinion counts, even if they do not always agree. The group works together and supports each other by including everyone without judgement. Once a book is complete they have a pizza party and vote on the next book they would like to read.
The Next Chapter Book Club is supported by DSAMT, and books for this group are supplied by the Arc of Williamson County. Book Clubs meet across the state with group make-up varying across ages and abilities. If you would like to participate in this particular Book Club contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org, advance registration is requested.
Here is a story from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Newsletter, The Compass that talks about Summer reading beyond the season, including NCBC.