Next Chapter Book Clubs

The first North Carolina Next Chapter Book Club, a unique community-based book club program for adults with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, started in Forsyth County in 2012. Now there are five book clubs in Forsyth County and one in Davie County. The Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network sponsors the Forsyth clubs and purchases the books so there is no charge for members.

The clubs have won several awards including the NC Council Community Programs award for Prevention, Outreach, and Wellness and the Team with the Most Spirit at the Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network (PDSSN) Buddy Walk.

The book club members (including some who do not read) love books for the same reasons most people do. The book clubs meet in public locations for an hour a week, read a book aloud to each other and have discussions led by volunteer facilitators. Reading and comprehension skills improve while communication and friendships blossom.

The readers choose their books, and celebrate their completion with a party and by watching a movie version of the book, if available. The club members celebrated completing Sherlock Holmes with a trip to the police station to learn what detectives do. After reading Black Beauty, the club visited a therapeutic riding center to meet their “Black Beauty” and to learn about how to properly care for a horse. The club also took a trip to an archery center to learn about the changes in bows and arrows since the days of Robinhood and to try hitting the bullseye.

Every December, all five Forsyth clubs gather with friends and family for a holiday potluck, sharing food, bingo and a holiday story. The highlight is a performance by one of the clubs. In the past, they have acted out a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate factory and created and performed a play based on all the books they read one year. This year they put on a talent show that included readings, poems, jokes and music.

Click here for more information about Next Chapter Book Clubs including how to start your own club. Click here to check out the North Carolina clubs’ Facebook page or contact Deborah Woolard at
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