What are Literature
Defining Literature Circles
1. Students choose their own reading materials
2. Small temporary groups are formed, based
upon book choice
3. Different groups read different books
4. Groups meet on a regular, predictable schedule
to discuss their reading
5. Kids use written or drawn notes to guide
both their reading and discussion
6. Discussion topics come from the students
7. Group meetings aim to be open, natural
conversations about books, so personal connections, digressions,
and open-ended questions are welcome
8. In newly-forming groups, students may
play a rotating assortment of task roles
9. The teacher serves as a facilitator, not
a group member or instructor
10. Evaluation is by teacher observation and
11. A spirit of playfulness and fun pervades
12. When books are finished, readers share
with their classmates, and then new groups form around new
Your job is to develop a list of questions
that your group might want to discuss about this part of
the book. Don't ask questions about small details. Your
task is to help people talk over the big ideas in the reading
and share their reactions. "
Sample Question Starters
o What was going through your mind when . . .
o How did you feel when . . .
o What real life experiences did today's reading remind
o What would you do when . . .
o Were you surprised when . . .
o What do you think is going to happen next?
Your job is to locate a few special sections
of the text that your group would like to hear read aloud.
The idea is to help people remember some interesting, powerful,
puzzling, funny, or important sections of the text. (Mark
each paragraph with a post-it.) List the page number and
the paragraph number you plan on having them read. Also,
write a sentence of two stating why you chose the paragraph.
Your job is to draw some kind of picture related
to the reading. Take your time and draw a quality picture.
Use color crayons, felt pens, or colored pencils for detail.
As you present your drawing, have the other members of your
group comment before you explain it.
Your job is to find important words in today's
reading. List the page number and paragraph, the word, and
the definition. Mark where each word is located with a post-it
or a book-marker.
Your job is to prepare a brief summary of
the days reading. The other members will be counting on
you to summarize the key points, the main highlights, the
essence of the selection. This summary should be about a
half page long.
Your job is to find connections between the
book your group is reading and the world outside. This means
connecting the reading to your own life, to happenings at
school or in the community, to similar events at other times
and places, to other places, to other people or problems
that you are reminded of.