R.A.Y. Discussion Tips

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  • Prepare by reading the book, finding biographical information about the author, and including book reviews. Cultural, geographic, or historical background might also be helpful to the discussion.

  • Think of questions ahead of time, ask other members to bring questions or use the questions provided in your R.A.Y. tote bag.

  • Facilitate by beginning with a provocative question and then stepping back. Avoid closed-ended questions like "Did you like the book?"

  • Be a good listener and observer. Listen for quiet members and try to draw them into the discussion. Help those who are anxious to enter the conversation to find a gap.

  • Try to gently prevent one or two talkers from dominating the conversation.

  • Choose a favorite passage or two from the book. Reading aloud can bring a new perspective to the passage.

  • Respect everyone's opinion. Not everyone will like the book. When there are differing views, encourage discussion about the reasons for liking or disliking the book. Let is be known that the group is non-judgmental and everyone's opinion is valued. Often the best discussions happen where there is less agreement.

  • Maintain the focus and keep the discussion moving. Tangents can be fun and enlightening, but be sure that other group members stay interested when the conversation strays.

  • Don't use the discussion questions as if they were an exam. Rather, use them as conversation starters.

  • Set the tone. The atmosphere of the meeting will affect how lively the discussion will be and how enriching the experience. Bring some of the cultural aspects (food, music, customs, etc.) described in the book to your meeting. Consider taking some time to watch part of a video or listen to an interview.

  • Most importantly, have fun!