Cheryl Fryfield is a self-advocate who lives in Vancouver and works at Community Living BC. Here, she shares her experience with the Next Chapter Book Club and explains why it has had a positive impact on her life.
NextChapterBookClublogoThe Next Chapter Book Club helps groups of teens and adults with developmental disabilities – regardless of reading ability – be members of a book club. The Next Chapter Book Club organization started in 2002 in the United States. Today there are over 250 Next Chapter Book clubs across the United States, Canada, Israel and Europe.


The Next Chapter Book Club – Vancouver, started in February 2014. I joined the book club to increase my reading skills and also to meet new people.  There are six other people in the group, including a facilitator.  Other people joined the book club because they wanted to try something new, get back to reading, meet people or simply talk about books.


We meet once a week in the evening, at a coffee shop, The Grind, on Main Street in Vancouver. It is near transit so it is easy to get to.


Next Chapter Book Club

From left to right: Laura Laidlaw, Ben Simcoe, Susan Powell, Cheryl Fryfield, Jerry Laidlaw and Liz Etmanski. (photo taken by Deb Simcoe)

Everybody brings their ideas of what to read to the meeting. Then we talk about the ideas, look over book summaries and then we vote. Everybody is given a copy of the book so we don’t have to go out and buy the book.  People take turns reading out loud and we help each other if someone cannot read a word.  We stop every once in awhile and talk about what we have read.


People ask questions if they want something explained. We look things up on the Internet with our phones and Ipad. Our group decided to write a summary about the chapters we read each week to help us remember everything that is going on in the book. If someone is away we email the summary to the person.


The first book we read was the award winning novel “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo. On the back cover, the book is described as: “When ten-year-old India Opal Buloni moves to Naomi, Florida, with her father, she doesn’t know what to expect—least of all that she’ll adopt Winn-Dixie, a dog she names after the supermarket where they meet. With such an unusually friendly dog at her side, Opal soon finds herself making more than a few unusual friends.”


We really liked this book. We laughed, talked, got sad and wished there was a sequel. Once we finished the book we celebrated. Since the book had been made into a movie, we celebrated at my place with a movie night, popcorn and all!


Our second book that we are reading now is a “who-dun-it”, which is like a mystery.  It is called The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd. We are having fun trying to solve the mystery – how did Salim go missing?


There are lots of good reasons to join a book club:


  • It builds confidence
  • Helps with reading
  • Keeps you active
  • Helps you learn
  • Lets you meet people and
  • It’s fun!


So if you are like us, and Born to Read, consider joining a book club.


Spectrum Society for Community Living supports the Next Chapter Book Club. If you are interested in joining contact Aaron Johannes-Rosenberg at (604) 323-1433 or



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