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Literature Circles MES Faculty Meeting November 7, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Literature Circles MES Faculty Meeting November 7, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literature Circles MES Faculty Meeting November 7, 2005

2 What are Literature Circles? A Literature Circle is a student centered reading activity for a group of 4-6 students at any grade level. Each member of a circle is assigned a role which helps guide the group in a discussion of the title they are all reading. Literature Circles provide an opportunity for students to control their own learning; to share thoughts, concerns and their understanding of the events of the novel.

3 In literature circles, small groups of students gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students' response to what they have read. You may hear talk about events and characters in the book, the author's craft, or personal experiences related to the story. Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach. Students reshape and add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers. Finally, literature circles guide students to deeper understanding of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response.

4 More Specifically: 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.

5 There is no one way to do literature circles. Literature circles look different in every classroom; they change from teacher to teacher, grade to grade, student to student. Literature circles have no recipe, they are not a specific "program", and they never look the same from year to year -- or even from day to day.

6 Literature circles fit into a comprehensive literacy program as one way for students to apply what they are learning about reading and writing:

7 Qualities of a Good Literature Circle Book A good literature circle book touches something within the reader's heart and mind and compels response. You can use some fairly simple criteria to help you find such books. For example, consider these three questions: "Does the book succeed in arousing my emotions and will it arouse children's emotions? Is the book well written? Is the book meaningful?"In short, a good literature circle book has substance -- something worth talking about. In addition to content, consider a book's layout -- number of pages, size of print, inviting space on the page, use and placement of illustrations. These can be crucial deciding factors for students as they choose a book. If the configuration of pages and print is too overwhelming, a book may seem insurmountably difficult even though its content is riveting. As veteran teacher Dan Kryszak says, "You can tell a well laid-out book, as if it says, 'Hey, I've got a great story. Come on in and relax and enjoy it' not 'Here it is -- BAM. Hurry up or you'll never finish!'"

8 What about the Challenged Reader? Literature circles can have great benefits for students who are not strong readers. Third grade teacher Mary Lou Laprade explains about one of her struggling readers: "When he read aloud, he would stumble and I know he was embarrassed. But when he sat at book club, he had some insights that none of the others had even thought of. He got the chance to hear books and discuss books that would have been out of his reach if he were stuck with the simple books at his own level." Guiding challenged readers through their literature circle books may include the strategies mentioned above as well as these: Provide additional time to complete the reading Read the book with resource teachers or other specialists Partner read the book with a classmate Listen to the book on tape and read along.

9 Literature Circles and Writing Use questions that come up during discussion as jumping-off points for writing Open-ended questions: "How are you like this character?" or "What do you think will happen next, and why?" Prompts: "I wonder...", "I wish...", "What if....?" Diary entries in the voice of a character Cause/effect explanation Letters to characters (or from one character to another) Sketching or drawing

10 Resources

11 Great Web Sites tCircles/index.html tCircles/index.html


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