Literature Circles

Literature circles are a great way to read a book you want to read with your peers. It also allows for meaningful discussion and insight into the book that is not dominated by the teacher. On this page you will find all of the resources needed to be successful in your literature circles.
What Are Literature Circles?

In literature circles, small groups of students gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students' response to what they have read. You may hear talk about events and characters in the book, the author's craft, or personal experiences related to the story. Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach. Students reshape and add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers. Finally, literature circles guide students to deeper understanding of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response.

Perhaps the easiest way to understand what literature circles are is to examine what they are not.

From Getting Started with Literature Circles
by Katherine L. Schlick Noe & Nancy J. Johnson

© 1999 Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.
Literature Circles are . . .

Reader response centered

Part of a balanced literacy program

Groups formed by book choice

Structured for student independence, responsibility, and ownership

Guided primarily by student insights and questions

Intended as a context in which to apply reading and writing skills

Flexible and fluid; never look the same twice
Literature Circles are not . . .

Teacher and text centered

The entire reading curriculum

Teacher-assigned groups formed solely by ability

Unstructured, uncontrolled "talk time" without accountability

Guided primarily by teacher- or curriculum-based questions

Intended as a place to do skills work

Tied to a prescriptive "recipe"

Book Choices

Below you will find the list of books that you will choose from in class. Make sure that it is a book you want to read and that the book is something your parents will approve of. It is always important to discuss what you are reading with your parents. They can help you decide if you are ready for some of the subject matter that is presented in these books.
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Lit Circle Jobs

Here you will find information that will help you know what to do when you prepare for lit circles. When your group figures out its schedule of jobs and readings, I may be able to post that on this page as well. You are free to check back at any time in order to make sure you are preparing for your meetings properly. The model jobs are based on the short story "Something by Tolstoi" by Tennessee Williams.
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