Mrs. Nash's Second Grade Class
Cumberland Elementary School
Whitefish Bay


I have always been fond of doing book projects with my students.

Biography Projects

Folk/Fairy Tale Book Projects

The “Literature Circle Extension Project” afforded me another opportunity to tap into my students’ creative abilities.

Literature circles were introduced as another way to enjoy reading and discussing stories. We began our lit circle work by first reading a story in our Grade level anthology, concentrating on one lit role a day. Each day, the entire class completed and discussed the same role sheet. Following this process enabled all students to understand the structure and know what to expect in terms of class discussions. We talked about how each role aids students’ comprehension of a story and how important it is for each child to do their role with pride. Although there are many assigned roles for a literature circle, I decided on the 5 roles that I thought would be most beneficial in aiding comprehension of the 2nd graders. The roles we used were DISCUSSION DIRECTOR, COOL CONNECTOR, SUPER SKETCHER, SUPER SUMMARIZER, AND PASSAGE PERFORMER (thanks to Amanda Madden for the forms).

Following our week of practice, we used the mystery Genre for our Literature Circle. Mysteries are a good venue to introduce and support inference and questioning strategies, which was our comprehension focus for the current grade level curriculum unit.

Since my students are very interested in series books, the majority of books used for the lessons were from the series of Nate the Great and the Boxcar Children Mysteries. I tried to keep in mind the various reading levels that I have in my classroom, and therefore added another non-series book to the selection that is titled Key To The Treasure by Peggy Parrish. After collecting all of the Nate the Great and Boxcar Children books from our school library, the children used our designated reading time to browse through the books and decide which book they would like to read for the literature circle activities. After reviewing the roles and examining the books, students were asked to sign up for a book in groups of 5. Discussions were given as to the appropriateness and reading ability of books chosen. It was no surprise that students selected books that were JUST RIGHT for them!

Literature circles were conducted daily for 5 days. Each day the groups read for 30 minutes, filled out role sheets for 20-30 minutes, and then held discussions for 20-30 minutes. Since the students “placed themselves” in ability level groups, the pacing worked well. I circulated throughout all phases of the activities giving assistance where needed. Halfway through the week students were asked to give a mini presentation to the class summarizing the plot of their stories thus far. They also used this opportunity to confirm whether or not their stories contained the elements/characteristics of a mystery.

Next came the extension projects. I used the LCD projector to show my class examples of extension projects from project participants and from the Extension Project website. The children were asked to think about the best way to represent their book. When students were ready to select a project, they signed their name under the type of project, and then filled out a project plan sheet. Once I approved the plan, students worked independently or with a partner on their creation. The process took 5 days for all projects to be completed and presented. Those who completed their project in under 5 days were encouraged to enjoy one of the books they had not read.


Game board: Nate The Great and the Missing Key

2 Quilt Squares:  Key To The Treasure

CD Cover: Houseboat Mystery

CD Cover: Boxcar Children

©  Susan Silverman - Literature Circles Extension Projects