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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Literature Circles and Book Clubs

I am still using my small group leveled reading books in my guided reading groups at this point in the year.  However, I'd really like to keep the enthusiasm for reading in general up.  Since I've been hearing so much about book clubs and literature circles lately, I thought I'd check it out.

Original version of literature circles
  1. The teacher chooses the book students will read and assigns each student a "job" in the circle. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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)
  1. The teacher lays out several different novels of varying reading levels. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?


Pat's Paper Passion said...

I'm starting a 'book club' Monday. I love the title...I was going to call it partner read...but I like book club.

Here are the books I'm letting the students choose:
(I have multiple copies)from low to higher levels
Iggie's House
Little Lefty
Charlotte's Web
Time for Andrew
Bud Not Buddy
The Giver
Ida B...
View From Saturday

Hope you finds the titles useful. We use Accelerated Reader and the Literacy Skills test is what I'll use as part of my evaluation. Also a journal entry each day, and of course a worked and used time wisely in class.

Danielle said...

I combine them in a way - students do sticky notes and a job each week. Then, they meet and share on Thursdays. They rate their preparation and participation on a rubric. Fridays they have an open book "quiz" that is independent. Those are the questions I created. At the end, they review the book as a group and then individually take the AR test on it.

I gave students the choice of about 4 books that were near their reading level and formed groups that way. Not all students had the same choices of books. I had them rank them from first to last preference and write down if they had read any. I was able to give every student their first or second choice.

I teach 4th grade and have lots of advanced readers. Right now, my book clubs are reading (from low to high):
Fourth Grade Rats
Dear Mr. Henshaw
Mouse and the Motorcycle
A Year Down Yonder
Island of the Blue Dolphins
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Earlier this year, I also used:
Kid in the Red Jacket
Caddie Woodlawn
Bound for Oregon

Aside from a few students, they love it!

Heather said...

I love all these ideas and book titles! Thanks so much!

Angie said...

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:D Angie

Andrea McEvoy said...

I love your twist on book clubs Heather...I may give this a shot after testing! Great post!!!

One Teacher's Take

marlarattner said...

Do you have copies that you can share with the book club jobs, I think they are great, and would love to se them with my class.

Heather said...

Marla: I would be happy to share. Just leave me your email address, and I'll send them to you. My reading specialist shared them with me, so I can't put them up on TpT.