Mrs. Magnani's Fifth Grade Class
Boyle Road Elementary School
Port Jefferson Station, New York


Since this was my first time doing Literature Circles I chose only one book for the children to read, instead of having many different groups reading different books. Now that I feel more comfortable with Literature Circles and the children worked very well with it I would try using more than one book at a time.

The book I chose for the children to read was Abelís Island by William Steig. One of the Extension Projects I wanted to do with the book was a timeline. This book was excellent for this project.

The children were put into literature groups. There were four children in a group. I let them pick a partner and then I put them into the final groups of four. I made sure that each group had a strong reader. They would read orally in their groups two chapters of the book. They would then use their Literature Circle Role sheets that I obtained off the Internet. The students would rotate their roles of Summarizer, Vocabulary Finder, Question Writer, and Story Mapper each time they met. After the children finished their written response they would meet again to discuss and share their role sheet comments. I found it very interesting to listen in on the groups. Stronger students would help weaker ones find the answers to the questions the group was discussing. I feel the children put a lot more effort into their work knowing they were going to share it with the members of their group.

After the book was completed they each drew an illustration that they felt showed an important part of the book. Along with their illustration they had a caption to explain the picture.

As a culmination project the children were required to do an Extension Project. Some of the children worked alone and others worked in groups. The projects handed in included board games, bookmarks, postage stamps and CD covers. On the CD covers they listed songs and their artist they felt went along with the theme of the book.

The Extension Project that we did together as a class I felt showed they had understood the sequence of the story line. Each group was to come up with a time line for the year the story took place in. Then as a class we made one timeline with Timeliner software.. It was amazing how accurate they wanted to be and would look through the book to make sure we had everything in order.


©  Susan Silverman - Literature Circles Extension Projects