Are you looking for innovative ways to enhance reading comprehension and foster a love for literature among your students? Literature circles or book clubs are exactly what you need!
They are really low-prep but super valuable for students. Students learn about comprehension, vocabulary, and so much more. All while creating a love for reading.
What do I need for literature circles?
Easy, all you need is the books! Get 4-5 copies of the same book, and you are golden! You can use this pack here to provide activities for students to complete with the book.
How do I start literature circles?
All you need to do is group students by their reading ability levels. Then, you teach students how to run a literature circle. This can be the hardest part because it requires students to step up and be responsible for their work.
For this, I would use your read-aloud book at the time. Have students practice each different job during your read-aloud, or just have them practice discussion. Discuss what goes good or not so good during the practice sessions.
Make sure to stress to students that if they do not get their work done by the meeting day/time then they will have to sit out from the discussion. This helps tremendously with teaching students responsibility, time management, and so much more.
What do literature circles look like?
- Students are in groups of 4-5 students.
- They each read the same chapters but complete a different role or assignment.
- After reading and completing the activity, they meet and discuss the reading and each role they completed.
- Then, they repeat the steps above, but with different roles.
I suggest that you set apart 30 minutes of your reading block for this. Monday and Tuesday, students may be reading and completing their assignments. Then, on Wednesday, they meet. And you keep repeating this.
If students did not get their reading assignments done the day before they were supposed to meet, then it would be homework or morning work, etc.
What literature circle activities can my students complete?
You can grab this pack here, which is a print-and-go resource. It has activities for the students, a planning sheet, and more. It also tells the students exactly what their role is during the discussion. Or you can just have them complete the activities below.
- Word Detective- have students find 3-4 words in the passage and look them up. Then, they can teach them to the other students.
- Summarizer- students write a paragraph about the passage they read. They would read the passage to their group, and the group would decide if they should’ve added anything, etc. They would go first during the meeting.
- Artist- With this assignment, they draw a picture of an event during their reading.
- Character Captian- When they are the captain, they can analyze a character from their reading. Looking at their motivations, traits, etc. They would also create one or two questions about their character to ask the group during meeting time.
- Question Master- This student creates a few questions for the group about the reading passage. The group discusses the questions that they create.
What books should I use for literature circles?
But you truthfully can use anything you can get your hands on! If you don’t have a ton of books, there are free novel choices on EPIC.
Any Cam Jansen, Magic Tree House, etc. are great for students!
Now get out there and get your students reading and discussing what they read!