Original version of literature circles:
- The teacher chooses the book students will read and assigns each student a "job" in the circle.
- Students read the novel together as a group and as they read, each student does their "job." I have used this model in the past. Below is an example of some of the group jobs and their descriptions.
- The teacher assigns follow-up comprehension questions that are usually pre-written. Students are expected to answer these as a group. In this scenario, the teacher is still the leader of discussion.
New way of looking at literature circles (AKA: book clubs)
- The teacher lays out several different novels of varying reading levels.
- Students choose the book they want to read and the groups are formed by the interest in that book. I always remind students they must be able to pass the "five finger rule" (turn to a random page and read it without making more than 5 mistakes) in order to choose that book.
- Students read the novel on their own for 3-4 days, marking points of interest with sticky notes or scraps of paper. This would be where each child would be a "Word Detective", "Connector", "Captain Answer" and "Summarizer." They would EACH be responsible for having that job done/recorded in their notebooks when they returned to group.
- The teacher is more of an observer as the students share the questions they had while reading and help each other to answer them. I made a tally chart (below) that I use to keep track of student progress and assign a participation grade.
Which version do you use? Can you recommend any good novels that are on 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade levels?