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Lesson Plan

Literature Circles: Getting Started

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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
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology






Multiple copies of literature books

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  • Review the basic literature circle strategy, using the Websites linked in the Resources section. Before you begin the lesson, you should have a strong working knowledge of how the strategy works.

  • Preview and read the books that students will choose among for this lesson so that you are familiar with the plot and literary elements. According to Hill, Johnson and Noe (1995), it is best to choose books that arouse emotions, are well-written, and are meaningful (113). The books should reflect students' reading levels as well. Gather copies of the books for each student group.

  • If desired, make overhead transparencies of the Literature Circle Roles and Literature Circle Process. Alternately, you might write the information on chart paper or the board.

  • Make copies of the Literature Circle Role Sheets (Discussion Director, Vocabulary Enricher, Literary Luminary, and Checker) for students to use independently and as they practice. Overhead transparencies of the forms may also be useful as the class explores the requirements of each task.

  • Make copies of the Self-Reflection Worksheet, or if students will complete the self-reflection online, test the Online Self-Reflection Checklist on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

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