done literature circles on different grade levels and in
different ways (special roles, assigned sheets, post-its,
whole class-same book, leveled groups, interest groups,
author study groups), this was the first time I organized
literature circles without sheets or assigned special roles.
children were experienced with independent reading and then
writing about what they were thinking and feeling. They had
maintained a reader’s response journal where they wrote
questions, conclusions, connections and extensions about
what they were reading. They also wrote about their
strategies and thoughts as a reader. The children wrote
weekly letters to me discussing the book they were reading.
As I responded in their journals, I was able to encourage
deeper responses. I insisted on detailed descriptions of
their feelings, visualizations and inferences. With this
written dialogue and conferences, I assessed their
comprehension and their growth as a reader and writer.
could also write reader response letters to someone in
class. The children would “buddy up” to recommend and
of these experiences, Literature Circles had a solid
foundation and seemed a more genuine outgrowth of the
previous groundwork. Now we were extending and widening
organized by level and interest.
Journals were maintained.
quick jots were used in books to remind students of a
special page, passage, incident or character to discuss.
made as a group as to how many pages a night would be read
Students pledge to
be responsible and respectful to the Circle, read the agreed
pages, use post-its and come prepared for discussions
Before the book
discussion would begin, students sat in actual circles with
complete listening to the speaker.
The next speaker
must respectfully comment on what the last speaker said or
ask a follow-up question. This promotes listening skills
and real discussion.
Each member would have an opportunity to share their
thoughts and build on what was already shared
was shown the Literature Circle Site and examples of some
different types of projects from other classes. They were
inspired and the Literature Circle Groups discussed best
project choices as it pertained to their particular book.
Decisions were based on the majority wish. The Circles
decided on each member’s participation and responsibility
with the completion of the project.
addition to the different projects, each group wrote a
summary of the book and created a graphic organizer for one
concept from the book.