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What are literature circles?

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Defining Literature Circles

1. Students choose their own reading materials

2. Small temporary groups are formed, based upon book choice

3. Different groups read different books

4. Groups meet on a regular, predictable schedule to discuss their reading

5. Kids use written or drawn notes to guide both their reading and discussion

6. Discussion topics come from the students

7. Group meetings aim to be open, natural conversations about books, so personal connections, digressions, and open-ended questions are welcome

8. In newly-forming groups, students may play a rotating assortment of task roles

9. The teacher serves as a facilitator, not a group member or instructor

10. Evaluation is by teacher observation and student self-evaluation

11. A spirit of playfulness and fun pervades the room.

12. When books are finished, readers share with their classmates, and then new groups form around new reading choices.

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Where Literature Circles Fit in "Best Practice" Classrooms
Daniels and Bizar's Methods that Matter Model

Integrative Units

Thematic/Interdisciplinary Studies, Problem/Project-Based Learning, Negotiated Curriculum

Small Group Activities

Partners, Teams, Group Investigations, Centers, Peer Writing Groups, Literature Circles


Written and Graphic Thinking; Journals, Logs, Sketchbooks

Classroom Workshop

Studio/Laboratory Method; Teacher and Peer Conferences; Process, Practice, Modeling

Authentic Experiences

Real Materials, People, Places; Primary Sources, Simulations; Community Research & Service

Reflective Assessment

Student Goal-Setting and Reflection; Formative focus; Parent-Teacher-Student Partnership

Reading Workshop

Teacher-Directed, Independent Reading(SSR, DEAR)



Where Literature Circles Fit into Fountas/Pinnell’s Reading Program

1. Reading Aloud

2. Shared Reading  (visible text)

3. Guided Reading  (leveled text groups)

4. Independent Reading  (kids on own: Reading Workshop / Literature Circles)

5. Shared Writing  (teacher scribe)

6. Interactive Writing  (teacher/kids share pen)

7. Guided Writing or Writing Workshop (teacher guided, conferences, mini-lessons)

8. Independent Writing  (own pieces)

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