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Lesson Plan

Learning Clubs: Motivating Middle School Readers and Writers

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Heather Casey, Ph.D.

Heather Casey, Ph.D.

Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Suzanne Gespass

Lawrenceville, New Jersey


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, students participate in learning clubs, a grouping system used to organize active learning events based on student-selected areas of interest. Guided by the teacher, students select content area topics and draw on multiple texts—including websites, printed material, video, and music—to investigate their topics. Students then have the opportunity to share their learning using similar media, such as learning blogs.

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Casey, H.K. (2008). Engaging the disengaged: Using learning clubs to support struggling adolescent readers and writers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 52(4), 284–294.

  • Effective teachers draw on the use of literature circles and book clubs to support learning across topics.

  • The learning club structure motivates middle school students to draw on literacy as a tool for learning.

  • Adolescents are engaging in multiple modes of texts outside of the classroom that have the potential to motivate learning within the classroom.


Daniels, H. (2002). Literature circles: Voice and choice in the student-centered classroom. Portland. ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

  • Students are motivated to read when given the opportunity to choose materials.

  • Teachers retain control over the "menu" to select from as well as the formation of groups.

  • Student-centered, constructivist group investigation around common texts necessitates the teacher carefully structure and organize the experience.


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