Literature Circles 2011 Summer VAT Meeting Document Transcript
Literature Circles:Why do them? Tori Thomas Simmons June 27, 2011
What are they?
What is a Literature Circle? a group of students reading the same story or novel Group members read independently and meet together at various intervals to talk about the reading Group members are also individually responsible for completing assignments that enhance the understanding of the novel.
Benefits of Literature Circle Provides opportunity for accountable talk Promotes true discussion versus question/answer sessions Practice reading strategies Promotes collaboration
Literature Circle Process 1. Choose one of the available texts to read. 2. Arrange the class in literature circle groups, based upon book choice. 3. First Literature Circle Meeting Decide how much of the text to read and which role each of you will fill during the next meeting. Make sure you have a copy of the correct role sheet (if using). Read your text and prepare for literature circle meetings. 4. Following Literature Circle Meetings (repeat until the text is finished) Use written or drawn notes to guide the group’s reading and discussion, according to the role you are filling for the session. Be open and make sure that everyone has a chance to participate. Remember that personal stories that connect to the reading and open-ended questions about the text are welcome. 5. When books are finished, readers share with their classmates through booktalks, online-discussions and projects and then new groups form around new reading choices.
Literature Circle Roles Discussion Director creates questions to increase comprehension asks who, what, why, when, where, how, and what if Vocabulary Enricher clarifies word meanings and pronunciations uses research resources Literary Luminary guides oral reading for a purpose examines figurative language, parts of speech, and vivid descriptions Checker checks for completion of assignments evaluates participation helps monitor discussion for equal participation
How can I structure a literature circle?
Literature Circle Models
Basic Literature Circle Model Choose 3 or 4 books (easy, average, and challenging) and obtain multiple copies of each title. You'll need 6 to 8 copies of each depending on your class size. Present the books to students and allow them to write their preferences in order on an index card. Use that information and your knowledge of their reading skills to create reading groups. Make a response journal for each student or have them bring in a notebook for this purpose. It's fun to let the kids create their own mini response journals using the booklet pages. Duplicate the pages (double-sided) and have kids fold them in half. They can make a cover from construction paper and glue a copy of the Response Journal Prompts on the inside. Students read alone, with a partner, or in small groups. Instead of me assigning a certain number of pages per week, I've been really successful with having the kids set their own daily page goals. Each day they get together for a few minutes to check on how everyone's doing and to decide how many more pages they want to read for the next day. As students read, they mark discussion points in their books with sticky notes or write in response journals, and they bring their notes and questions to the meeting with them. Once a week, they write a full response in their mini journal. They use the Response Journal Prompts glued inside their covers to guide them. On the Literature Circle meeting day I meet with one group at a time, or move from group to group as they meet simultaneously. At that time they read from their response journals and reference the sticky notes they've used to mark passages. Sometimes they are involved in an activity such as creating a graphic organizer or finding examples of imagery in their books. The Literature Circle Format sheet can be used to guide the discussion. When a group finishes a book, they evaluate their participation by using the Literature Circle Reflection Form or some other evaluation form. I collect their journals and the forms, and I use them in assigning a grade for that round of Literature Circles.
Talking Sticks Literature Circle This model is a slight variation of basic Literature Circles. Students read their books independently for several days, completing a Response Bookmark each day. Also, throughout the week they jot down questions that they want to discuss on their Literature Circle meeting day (Fridays work well for me as a meeting day). Just before meeting with the group, the teacher posts a journal prompt and each person writes a response in their journal. Possible questions include: What do you will predict will happen in the rest of the book? Give details to support your answer. What obstacles did the main character have to overcome? How did he or she overcome those obstacles? What fear did the main character face? How did he or she overcome his or her fear? Do you like the way the book ended? Why or why not? What advice would you give to the main character? After students write their responses, put them in groups of 3 or 4 students. Choose a leader for each group, and give the leader a copy of the Talking Sticks Literature Circle directions. You'll need a plastic cup and 2 popsicle sticks or craft sticks for each team member. Ask the leaders to read the directions aloud so the group can follow them. The Talking Sticks feature is a discussion regulator. When a group member wants to add to the discussion, he or she holds out a stick and puts it in the cup. When they run out of sticks, they have to be quiet until everyone else uses their sticks. When that happens, the leader passes out the sticks again and the discussion continues. Note: Remind students not to tap the sticks or play with them during the meeting. The sticks stay on the table until the student wants to contribute to the discussion. As the students meet to discuss the book, circulate through the room to observe their discussions and interactions. When each group appears to be finished, check in with them as they decide how many pages to read before the next meeting. In 5th grade, I encourage them to set their goals for about 15 to 20 pages a day. Any more than that and kids start falling behind. Reading less than 15 to 20 pages will result in boredom for most of the group.
Mini Literature Circles use with a basal reading program in your classroom Use with leveled readers that can be used as a way of introducing Literature Circles. Leveled readers are thin paperback stories or nonfiction selections, and they are written on a variety of reading levels. Can be done in one or two days depending on the time allowed.
Before you start… Plan, Plan, Plan!
Management Ideas Plan, Plan, Plan Create a calendar of meeting dates Provide opportunities for choice Provide lessons for the skills needed Provide additional support for students with special needs
Skills to Introduce Prior to Literature Circles Summarizing a chapter or section of a book Writing good discussion questions Answering questions in complete sentences Completing graphic organizers (Venn Diagram, Story Plot Flow Map, Character Map, etc.) Illustrating a favorite part of a story and writing a caption for it Vocabulary Context clues Dictionary use
What does it look like in action?
Fishbowl A powerful way for students to understand what goes into a good discussion is to observe one in action. If you have students in your classroom -- or even students in other classrooms -- who are discussion veterans, perhaps they can be models. Next, have students chart what they have observed. They should do so two ways. What does a discussion look like? What does a discussion sound like?
Bibliography Candler, L. (2010, November 28). Literature Circles. Retrieved November 28, 2010, from Teaching Resources: http://www.lauracandler.com/strategies/litcircles.php
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