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Literature Circles: Getting Started
|Grades||3 – 5|
|Lesson Plan Type||Recurring Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Introduction: Ten 50-minute sessions; thereafter: 50 minutes per session|
This lesson provides a basic introduction to literature circles, a collaborative and student-centered reading strategy. Students begin by selecting a book together then are introduced to the four jobs in the Literature Circles: Discussion Director, Literary Luminary, Vocabulary Enricher, and Checker. The teacher and student volunteers model the task for each of the four roles, and then students practice the strategies. The process demonstrates the different roles and allows students to practice the techniques before they are responsible for completing the tasks on their own. After this introduction, students are ready to use the strategy independently, rotating the roles through four-person groups as they read the books they have chosen. The lesson can then be followed with a more extensive literature circle project.
Self-Reflection: Taking Part in a Group Interactive: Using this online tool, students describe their interactions during a group activity, as well as ways in which they can improve. Students can add rows and columns to the chart and print their finished work.
Literature circles are a strong classroom strategy because of the way that they couple collaborative learning with student-centered inquiry. As they conclude their description of the use of literature circles in a bilingual classroom, Peralta-Nash and Dutch explain the ways that the strategy helped students become stronger readers:
Students learned to take responsibility for their own learning, and this was reflected in how effectively they made choices and took ownership of literature circle groups. They took charge of their own discussions, held each other accountable for how much or how little reading to do, and for the preparation for each session. The positive peer pressure that the members of each group placed on each other contributed to each student's accountability to the rest of the group. (36)
When students engage with texts and one another in these ways, they take control of their literacy in positive and rewarding ways.
Peralta-Nash, Claudia, and Julie A. Dutch. "Literature Circles: Creating an Environment for Choice." Primary Voices K-6 8.4 (April 2000): 29-37.