The End of Literature

Literature Circles, that is. 🙂

We have spent the last few weeks meeting in Literature Circles to read and discuss a book together.  The kids have done an amazing job of thinking deeply and talking openly.

At the beginning of our study, we read several texts together, learning the roles that they would later use in their groups independently.  They learned–and then practiced–the roles of Discussion Director, Character Creator and Literary Luminary.

After we worked together, each student was given the choice of which Literature Circle they’d like to join.  Each kiddo gave their first, second and third choices for which group they’d like to join, then were put into groups of 4-6.  For the next three weeks students read and wrote questions about the book they chose.  Their lit group met three different times, and students had different roles each time.

The themes of the unit were responsibility and choice, as students focused on taking turns, making sure their voices were heard, and using the text to support their thinking.

My students did an amazing job with these groups!  They’re excited to try it again later in the spring with different book choices.  What great experiences we had together.

What experiences have you had with literature circles or book clubs?  Do you have any advice for us for the next time we meet? What book would you choose to read?

6 thoughts on “The End of Literature

  1. If you keep making elementary seem so fun, I’m going to have to leave HS! Those sound great! (and something that could be really frustrating for the kids if to hadn’t done the coaching beforehand.) I can just see someone trying this out without prior coaching and the groups flopping horribly (and then the teacher blaming the kids OR the activity)

    Your title was particularly catching tonight because one slide from my gateway writing project training today about the CCSS (at least for 9-12) “Wheras the focus used to be on creating students who were LITERARY, now the focus is on creating students who are LITERATE.”

  2. We started literature circles just last week, but the class is all reading the same book while we practice the discussion guidelines we came up with together. For the next round of literature circles, I think we’ll be ready to have some choice of books like you’ve done. I like the roles you used–how did you introduce them to students?

    • Have you heard of the book Differentiation in Practice? I believe it’s by Tomlinson, and this is a unit in that book. It’s based on the work of Harvey Daniels (who has also written a book on literature circles). There are two versions of the DIP book, K-5 and 5-9, and this comes from the K-5 one. We did several “practice” rounds together with easy texts, some that I read aloud and some that they read to themselves; mostly just a chapter or excerpt rather than the whole book. The whole thing was leveled and was great for every reader in my room. I’d love to share my resources with you if you want. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

      What book were you reading for your lit circles?

  3. I’m familiar with Tomlinson and have read How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms, but have not heard of DIP. Right now, I’m using Moving Forward With Literature Circles as a guide and resource for mini-lessons. The authors don’t appear to use roles in their model, but I think at least some of my kiddos would benefit from that structure. I would love any resources you could share 🙂

    Right now we’re reading There’s a Boy in the Girls Bathroom.

    • I’ve seen that Moving Forward book before, but have never used it. Also, I LOVE There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom! When I taught 4th grade, it was my first read aloud of the year. Haven’t read it in 5th grade yet, but might next year. Why don’t you send me a DM on Twitter with your email address, and I can send you somethings that way. I don’t know if you have a Smart Board or Promethean stuff, but I could send you the flipchart we used, if you want it.

  4. Pingback: You Asked For It! « 20somethingkidsand1kookyteacher

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