Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tried it Tuesday- Literature Circles

Happy Tuesday!  I'm on a roll this week and trying to make up for not really posting last week.  I'm linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried it Tuesday linky!

There are a million and one ways to run a reading group.  In fact I feel like I've tried about a million and two things in my classroom over the years.  No matter what you do, I've always found that I can go back to a traditional literature circle.  This year I've struggled so much with some of my higher readers, because I only have very few of them that can really handle the responsibility and challenge of a chapter book.  This hasn't really ever happened to me in my years of teaching, so I've had to revamp a lot of what I do during guided reading.  I feel lucky to have a few students who really challenge themselves and are ready for a challenge from me. I've recently pulled out this literature circle packet to guide us through her reading of The Tale of Despereaux.

This was designed to use with small groups of students, to get them talking about books that they are reading.  Discussion can sometimes be hard, especially when students don't know what to bring up. This requires students to be an active participant in the book discussion, and not having me ask all of the questions and they answer (or stare blankly at me). I like using this because it can be used in so many different ways, and with so many levels of students (2-5). It's easy to change up or add/take away responsibilities based on grade level and independence of students.

The most common use is having a small group of students work on one book together by going through this packet either a chapter at a time, or several chapters at a time. Pages can be taken out or added depending on the length of the books that are being used.

There are 4 different members made into this packet, but you can have more than one member 1 or member 2 and so on to accommodate larger literature circle groups. I've found that 4 is a good number to keep it to though, as discussion can be repetitive or very long with a lot more students. The files that I've created already have each members booklet in order.  I tend to make a different colored copies for each cover based on what member they are (member 1 is blue, member 2 is green, etc,) and then do the rest of the pages white.  I have in the past color coded each job page before putting books together (so every time they see a yellow paper they know that they are in charge of drawing a visualization for the group).  That takes up a lot of time, but when I used this in 2nd grade that helped to keep jobs separate. Each person had a different job for each day based on the pages/chapters that have been read.

    1. One job is to give a summary of what was read. 
    2. One job is to pose long answer questions to the group based on what is happening in the story.
    3. One job is to draw a picture and visualize what is happening in the book to share with the group.
    4. One job is to make connections to the text to share. 

Not only are students required to keep up with their reading each night, they also must complete their job to share with the discussion group.  I like how it has them self-evaluate after each day as well.  It's important that they actively talk and listen during their group time.  It's always amazing how they are harder on themselves than I would be when grading their own work and participation.  If you're interested in this, or have questions please don't hesitate to contact me.  The plan is to get it up and running on my TpT store as soon as it's ready! It's a really big file, and with being new to TpT, I'm having some issues.  Please stand by---- ;)

How do you teach small groups?


  1. Tale of Despereaux is a fabulous book to do with a lit circle. I am CONSTANTLY changing what I do with my groups...that's the only way to keep it fresh and keep them interested! :)
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. I tried "Book Clubs" last year and loved it. However, we grouped our students for reading and this year we don't and are departmentalized (I teach all the ELA). I will try Book Clubs again this year later this spring when I think they can handle the independence. I can't wait to check out your finished literature circles product! I'm no expert, but let me know if I can help with any questions you have!
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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