Definition of Literature Circle

Reading response journals

Jobs of each
Days 1-10   Non-Fiction
Key features of... Sharing Sessions Worksheets on each job




Definition of Literature Circles:


Literature circles are small, temporary discussion groups who have chosen to read the same story, poem, article or book.


  I introduced one literature job a week to the whole class.  

Having put the job on poster paper. We read it together and I went over and modeled how it should be done.

 I then had the class perform their own modeling for one week. This provided better understanding of each job and where the students felt they needed to do better. I also incorporated this in their homework.  When they read a book, at home, they needed to show their parents and record whatever their job was that particular week on a sheet that I provided.  The next day we shared our sheet with the class. 

Students who didn't do as well as others heard why by just listening.


As we completed a task the chart was then  posted around the room describing the job, so they could reread and review, if any child forgot. 

I did this until all the jobs were introduced, and hung for all to see.

 Students did have favorite jobs, but I made sure all had a chance to complete each one of the tasks.


Before reading each group  member decides on what job they will perform. They all took responsibilities in the upcoming discussion, and everyone comes to the group with notes needed to help perform that job.


The circles have regular meetings, with discussion roles rotating each session. When they finish a book, the circle memberís plan a way to share highlights of their reading with the class; then they trade members with other finished groups, select more reading, and move into a new cycle.

Once readers can successfully conduct their own wide-ranging, self-sustaining discussions, formal discussion roles may be dropped.



Day 1

Kids read a good story and discuss it; the idea of literature circles is introduced.


Day 2-5

Kids learn one role per day using easy stories, or a short chapter from the current book they are reading. Groups of four students in the same role meet daily to discuss how they are doing. 

The whole class meets to discuss and clarify the day's target role .


Day 6-10

Kids put roles together while reading a story. Groups of four students in different roles meet to discuss; roles rotate daily.

Whole class meets daily to discuss and share.



Sharing Sessions


When each group is done reading and discussing the reading selection. It is time to develop a group activity about the book to share with the entire class. Here is a list of some good ideas;


     Posters advertising the book.

     Readers theater performances.

     Performances of a "lost scene" from the book.

     A sequel to the story.

     Read-alouds of key passages (with discussion and commentaries)

     Videotaped dramatizations

     A time line of the story

     Panel debates

     Reader-on-the-street interview (live or videotaped).

     Report on the author's life

     A new ending for the book.

     A new character for the book.

     Collages representing different characters.

     An artwork-painting, sculpture, poem, mobile, collage, diorama- interpreting

     the book.

     An original skit based on the book.

     A new cover for the book.

     An advertising campaign for the book.

     Diary of a character.

     Diorama of a key scene.

     Letter recommending the book for the library to buy for the school.

     Impersonation of a character (in costume, with props).

     Interview with the author (real or fictionalized).

     Interview with a character.

     Letters to (or from ) a character.

     The story rewritten for younger kids as a picture book.

     Plans for a party for all the characters in the book.

     A song or a dance about the book.

     News broadcast reporting events from the book.

     Family tree of a key character.

     Gravestone and eulogy for a character.

     A puppet show about the book.

     Background/research on the setting or period.

  This comes from another site.  I don't know where. If you know, please e-mail me with the name and address so I can give credit.


Books are appropriate for emergent readers.

Students (or teacher) read the whole book before coming to group discussion rather than reading sections of the text at several meetings as in chapter books.

During or after reading, kids record their responses in drawing or writing at their own level. They do not need to fill out differential role sheets used by older kids, and all kids may use the dame response format.Kdg-1st = drawing of something they thought of during the story. 2nd = reading log perhaps a mix of writing and drawing, can be used to record impressions and ideas for sharing.

Children do not take on different roles in these groups. Everyone has basically the dame two part job: to share something of their book, using their log, drawing or bookmarks as clues, and then join the discussion of ideas in the book.

Because books (and attention spans) at this level are short, primary literature groups are typically a one-meeting event: A group of kids gathering on a single occasion to talk about one set of books. The new groups are then formed around another set of readings.

Teacher is present in primary literature circles. Group activities such as this require more guidance. Lit circles are done during center time or when the other students not participation in the group are engaged on another activity.

  Teachers must be very careful not to turn the literature circles into a reading group. The role here is to facilitate sharing and discussion, not to teach skills.

  It is a time for pure, kid centered book-talk.



Key Features of Literature Circles


  Students choose their own reading materials.

  Small temporary groups are formed, based on book choice.

Different groups read different books.

Groups meet on a regular, predictable schedule to discuss their reading.

Kids use written of drawn notes to guide both their reading and discussion.

Discussion topics come from the students.

Group meetings aim to be open, natural conversations about books, so personal connections, digressions, and open-ended questions are welcome.

In newly forming groups, students play a rotating assortment of task roles.

The teacher serves as a facilitator, not a group member or instructor.

Evaluation is by teacher observation and student self-evaluation.

A spirit of playfulness and fun pervades the room.

When books are finished, readers share with their classmates, and then new groups form around new reading choices.