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.

- The teacher may be present in primary literature circles.  They guide and facilitate sharing and discussion.

 

 

Resources from Busy Teacher's Cafe

Journal Entry Form Using Prompts Reading Log
A quick look at what students are reading and how long they are taking to read.
Teacher Daily Log Form
Helps you write down observations as you move from group to group.
Class Log
Keep track of each groups progress, such as the title of the book, chapters read, etc.
Group Meeting Log
Group assess their work each day
 

 

Resources and Links to Other Sites
Article from Education World Defining Literature Circles Literature Circles Resource Center
Literature Circle Models Literature Circle Builds Excitement for Books Literature Circles Guide
(24 pages)
How to Lead a Literature Circle Free Literature Circle Lessons Literature Circles: Getting Started
Literature Circles Lesson Plans
(27 pages)
Literature Circles Power Point Literature Circles from ABC Teach
Mrs. M's Lit Circles Literature Circle Evaluation Literature Rubric
  More Roll Sheets