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Journal > The Reading Teacher
"Help! What Is Wrong With These Literature Circles and How Can We Fix Them?"
by Lane Clarke and Jennifer Holwadel
|Grades||6 – 12|
This articles details what happened when, after endless hours of teaching and explaining how literature circles work, the authors were dismayed at how their students still struggled to have positive social interactions during book discussions. Book discussions often deteriorated into tension filled discussions marred by class inequities, bullying, name-calling, kicking, and threats. The authors closely examined the context of this classroom and came up with some solutions to improve literature circles for their students.
This article identifies some issues that worked against book groups (such as student and structural barriers) and suggests some possible changes (minilessons, watching videos, choosing good books, coaching students) to assist others who also need help figuring out what is wrong with their literature circle discussions and what to do to improve them.
Clarke, L.W., & Holwadel, J. (2007, September). "Help! What Is Wrong With These Literature Circles and How Can We Fix Them?". The Reading Teacher, 61(1), 20–29. doi: 10.1598/RT.61.1.3
Grades 6 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students circle their desks as they analyze their own participation within a small group discussion.
Grades 6 – 10 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
To prepare for literature circles featuring historical novels, students research the decades of the 1930s to the 1990s and share their information using Prezi, a web application for creating multimedia presentations.