Literature circles are student lead discussions that revolve around a book. Students work in groups to discuss books of their choice, taking on roles to help facilitate the work. Below are links that give you information on literature circles, the components, and how to begin to implement it in your own classroom.

Benefits of Literature Circles

1. Help you to teach-not merely check- comprehension.

2. Allows you to teach many facets of comprehension.

3. Encourage students to learn from one another.

4. Motivate students naturally.

5. Promote discussion more effectively than whole groups.

From Moving Forward with Literature Circles

Typical Schedule for One-Hour Session

Student preparation: ONGOING
The students prepare for literature circles by reading agreed-upon chapters and writing a prediscussion entry in their journals OR filling out a role sheet.

Teacher Directions/Minilesson (5-10 minutes)

Small-Group Discussion (15-25 minutes)

Journal Writing (5-10 minutes)

Whole Group Debriefing (15-20 minutes)

Eleven Key Ingredients

1. Students choose their own reading materials.
2. Small temporary groups are formed based on book choice.
3. Different groups read different books.
4. Groups meet on a regular, predictable schedule to discuss their reading.
5. Kids use written or drawn notes to guide both their reading and their discussion.
6. Discussion topics come from the students.
7. Group meetings aim to be open, natural conversations about the book.
8. Teacher serves as facilitator, not group member or instructor.
9. Evaluation is by teacher observation and student self-evaluation.
10. A spirit of playfulness and fun pervades the room.
11. When books are finished, readers share with their classmates, and then new groups are formed around new reading choices.

From Literature Circles: Voice & Choice

How to Use Literature Circles in the Primary Grades

Teachers in K-3 can use literature circles!! You just need to make some modifications for it to work in your classroom, such as:

-The books are appropriate for emergent readers, such as wordless books, big books, picture books, etc.

- To make sure everyone understands the story, the books are often read-aloud to the children.

- The children read the whole book before coming to a group. This is mainly because of the nature of the books which are meant to be read in one sitting.

- Kids record their responses in drawing or writing at their own level. Kids can dictate to another person.

- Young children need extra help remembering what they want to share. Post-it notes help kids mark favorite parts of the book.

- Kids meet for one single meeting to talk about one set of books. Then new groups are formed around another set of readings.