ABE Discussion Boards
I don't know if I would call it a "book club" exactly, but I do know a teacher who regularly reads a short young adult novel with his intermediate level class. The book he reads is "The Color of My Words". The students read both in and out of class, and do a variety of writing exercises in response to the book. He has had a good response to this activity. At first, many students are intimidated by the idea of reading a whole book in English, but once they get into it, the story sucks them in and they find themselves reading more than they thought they ever could. When they finish, there is a real sense of pride. For some, it's the first "real" book they've ever read in ANY language. That's a powerful feeling.
I'm not sure of all the details, but I guess I would say he deals with inconsistent attendance by reading during class time; each person picks up where he or she left off. Then they do small group or pair discussions.
Some of our Advanced ESL classes (MLC) complete chapter book units. At our site I developed a month long unit using The House on Mango Street, which was well-received. The students first researched a handful of authors of different ethnicities via the Internet (with a teacher-created guide) and as a class voted on which author's work they'd like to explore. This led us to Sandra Cisernos' novel. In order to deal with sporadic attendance, we incorporated summary writing skills into the unit so that those who had been present could summarize for those who had missed class; however, attendance was heightened due to the nature of the lessons. This was most useful for new students, as we have open enrollment. The students worked on writing reactions to chapters vs. summaries of chapters, expanding their colloquial English, understanding literary forms (esp. similes & metaphors), and proper use of quotation marks to denote spoken words.
I had a student who formerly studied under the teacher Susan W-B mentioned in her post. She was an Intermediate level ELL. This student shared her copy of The Color of My Words with me because she loved it so much and wanted me to share her experience. I was so moved by it, that I do believe it will be our next chapter book endeavor...
Other MLC sites have used Seed Folks in their Advanced classes.
How're you liking Madison?