Educators’ Network Literature Circles By Sarah Pickles March 31st 2012 Lincoln Community School, Accra, Ghana
Tuning In:What are Literature Circles?Turn and talk to the person next to you andexplain what your understanding ofLiterature Circles is.
What are Literature Circles?Groups of 3 -5 students read, discuss and respond tobooksFacilitate focused discussions on booksWay to become critical thinkersEngage students in meaningful response to literatureMotivate students to readTeacher is observer/facilitator
Why have Literature Circles?Student centredFoster a love of readingPromote student independence and responsibilityPromote authentic discussions about booksEncourage students to learn from one anotherFoster critical thinking
Why do Literature Circles?
Finding OutWhat kind of things do you think studentscan discuss about books?Turn to the person next to you and discussyour ideas
What are Literature Circles?
What do they look like? Share what makes sense Share what doesn’t make sense Use others’ ideas to help think about books Ask questions Share our stories, connections, that help us understand the characters Discuss insights Discuss language Discuss writer’s craft
Making ConnectionsText to textText to selfText to worldPromote a deeper understanding of books
Discuss languageLearn new vocabulary in an authentic wayIdentify ﬁgurative language e.g. metaphorand simileIdentify and share examples of descriptivelanguage
Ask important questions Teaches students to ask discussion questions rather than comprehension questions Different perspectives on the books
Discuss charactersDiscuss character traits and back up yourideas with evidence from the bookDiscuss how characters change and whyDiscuss what motivates characters
How does it ﬁt in with your teaching?Literacy programYour studentsYour style of teachingYour classroom routinesYour teaching day
How do you start?Structure and scaffolding Through read alouds, model the questionsand connections you want the students tomakeThrough strategy lessons teach studentsstrategies, e.g. making personal connectionsto the texts, and then get students topractise doing that with shared texts or withtheir reading books
Essential AgreementsWhat agreements do you think you have tohave to ensure smooth discussions?
Structure of Literature Circles: Before the discussion Students choose a book and form a group/ groups are formed and books distributed Read at home – students agree how many pages they will read before the next session Have a job to do on the pages read/or take notes Bring journal and book to Literature Circles
Structure of Literature Circles: During the discussion Discussion Director facilitates discussion Students share and discuss their notes and their ideas
Structure of Literature Circles: After the discussion Students agree on pages to read for next session Students rotate jobs Students record pages to read and jobs in journals Feedback and reﬂection session
ScaffoldingRead along and listen to me read a shorttext
ScaffoldingNow I will put you in groupsReread the text and make any notes,recording any of your thoughtsDiscuss in your group
ReﬂectionWhat went well?What didn’t go so well?
Have a goRead the short text in front of youEach of you will be given a jobReread the text through the lens of yourjobMake notes according to the job description
Have a go!Now you have read the text and writtensome notes according to your job, get intoyour groups and the ‘Discussion Director’ willfacilitate the discussion.
Assessing Literature Circles
Time for reﬂection: StudentsStudent self reﬂection:What went well?What could be improved?What are your group’s goals?What are your individual goals?
Assessing Discussions: How and Why?Anecdotal recordsRubricsChecklistsSet goals for individuals and groups
Assessing Journals: TeacherShare exemplary workPost exemplary work in your classroomSet goals
Going FurtherVisit www.disting.blogspot.com for thepresentation and resources shown todayRead: Noe, Katherine L. Schlick, and Nancy J. Johnson. GettingStarted with Literature Circles. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon, 1999.Read: Day, Jeni Pollack. Moving Forward withLiterature Circles: How to Plan, Manage, andEvaluate Literature Circles That DeepenUnderstanding and Foster a Love of Reading.New York: Scholastic Professional, 2002Visit http://www.litcircles.org/Try out Literature Circles with your students!