Literature Circles

What are Literature Circles?

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 student self-evaluation

11. A spirit of playfulness and fun pervades the room.

12. When books are finished, readers share with their classmates, and then new groups form around new reading choices.

Discussion Director

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 you of?
o What would you do when . . .
o Were you surprised when . . .
o What do you think is going to happen next?

Literary Luminary

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.

Vocabulary Enricher

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.