Middle school literature circles: make reading stick!

Ready to lớn write literature circle lesson plans? This post will guide you through everything you need to know khổng lồ get started!

Whether you hotline them literature circles or book clubs, this type of reading instruction is a powerful and engaging way lớn improve reading.

Let’s jump in!

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What are Literature Circles?

A literature circle (or book club) provides a way for students to dig into books that are at their reading & interest level. They do this by:

reading and discussing the text togethermeeting on a regular basis to discuss their reading

Why should you use them?

1.Book clubs are FUN! Students get khổng lồ sit in a small group and TALK! What middle schooler doesn’t love that??

2. They provide variety. Keeping your class interesting, different, và changing helps keep interest in your class.

3. When you set up book clubs, you are making sure that the right books are getting to lớn the right readers.

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4. Students are reading with their classmates — we know the value of working together.

5. They are short. You can determine how long you want them to last và what you want students to read. This keeps them interesting!

Setting up groups

You can phối up your literature circles in a wide variety of ways. Here are a few:

Students are grouped according lớn their reading level. Each group reads a book that is appropriate for that cấp độ.Students choose from a danh mục of books. They are then grouped according to the title.Each group reads a different title in a particular genre. For example, the whole class can be reading a dystopia novel, but each group has a different title.Groups of students choose what books they want to read.

You can choose which way you want lớn select books và group students. You can even randomly group students.

The key to lớn grouping students is khổng lồ make sure they are reading a text that is within their ability. It’s okay if it’s a little challenging. But not overwhelming.

Tips for setting up groups

Decide if your groups will be arranged by title choice or student reading ability.The max number of students in a group should be four. Any more than that and you’ll have sầu students who disengage & let the others bởi the talking & the work.Create a document that shows all your groups and what they are reading. This will help when you run multiple groups and when you repeat groups throughout the year.Keep mixing. This is why a document lượt thích the one listed above will be helpful. Make sure that the same students aren’t always in the same groups.
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Getting Students lớn buy in

Students will generally be interested and excited by literature circles if they have some choice & options for what they are reading.

Getstudentsexcitedaboutwhatthey’rereadingby setting up a “book tasting” or provide quiông xã pReview of what each title is about. You want to make the books as enticing & interesting as possible (after all, you’re not picking boring books, are you??)

Makethisdifferent. Book clubs offer a different way lớn arrange your classroom. If you already have students sitting at tables, you can phối it up by providing some decorations, table place cards, or even snacks.

What should they read?

Determine what your students will be reading by either their ability màn chơi or their interests.

Here’sthehardpart: you should piông chồng books that you’ve sầu already read. If you haven’t read the book, you’ll have trouble helping students respond khổng lồ reading questions. You also want to be able to lớn tell if students have read the book — if you aren’t familiar with the text, that is going lớn be difficult.

If you want some suggestions for titles, you can read through these lists:

If you are going to lớn present several books & students will be choosing what they want khổng lồ read, be sure to lớn have them rank order at least three books. That will provide you with some flexibility.

How to lớn divide the reading

Decide howlong you want your students lớn read the book. You can determine this by looking at your readers. Struggling readers will take longer to move sầu through a text, so you will want to provide more time.

I generally phối three or four weeks for students to lớn complete the reading.

I have sầu students sit down with a reading calendar (make one as an opt in) or their planner and divide the book inkhổng lồ weeks. So, if I want the book clubs to lớn last four weeks, they divide the book inlớn fourths. Do not allow them khổng lồ stop in the middle of a chapter!

Next, have students divide the weeks into lớn the days you are planning them khổng lồ meet. So, they will mark on their calendar what pages (or chapters) they should have read by the meeting days.

It’s a good idea for you to lớn Review each groups’ reading calendar. You want to lớn make sure they have enough time khổng lồ finish the book, but you also want lớn make sure that they will be challenged and have enough reading to vày.

When will students read?

Determine when and where your students will complete their reading. You’ll have some students to lớn read the entire book the first week (or first night!!), but you also will want to lớn provide support to your struggling readers.

You can build in reading days or even reading time into your class schedule. If you give sầu homework, “read your book for book club” can be a standard homework assignment.

What are you teaching?

You’ve got your groups, the students have sầu their books, now what?

Time to lớn phối up your literature circle lesson plans!

I love using mini lessons with literature circles. In the past, I assigned student roles — you may be familiar with them. One student is vocabulary collector, someone else is a summarizer, etc.

My experience has been that these roles aren’t very effective in teaching reading skills.

I want my students khổng lồ dig inlớn the text — so I vày that by using mini lessons.

Mini lessons can include:

characterconflictplotpoint of viewdialoguethemesetting

They can also include:

summarizingdetermining the main ideafinding details, sensory language, and descriptionmaking inferencespredictingvisualizingdetermining sequencedrawing conclusionsapplying background knowledgequestioningself-monitoring reading comprehensionidentifying vocabularyfinding mentor sentences

Generally, I ask students to summarize each “chunk” of their reading for the group meetings. Students can giới thiệu và add to lớn their summaries when they discuss the reading.

Then, I have sầu a mini lesson and ask students to persize a task that aligns with the mini lesson. For example:

Theminilesson: Defining và describing the protagonist.

Thestudenttask: Determine who the protagonist is. What bởi vì you know about this person? Create a các mục that includes a physical description, what the character says and does that helps you underst& hyên or her. Challenge: What bởi vì you learn about the character from what others say?

By following this pattern, you can move sầu through literary analysis as well as strengthen reading skills.

Plus, by adding variety lớn the tasks, the book clubs remain interesting & fresh.

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You bởi not have sầu lớn teach all the things!

If you are planning to lớn have sầu more than one book club in a year, you can divide your mini lessons up.

Don’t feel lượt thích lớn you lớn teach every, single mini lesson for the book. That will lead to lớn bored students and a bored teacher!

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How often should groups meet?

Again, there is a lot of flexibility around setting up meetings. Meeting every day means that your students will have sầu to keep up with daily reading, or students will be working with the same text through the week. There isn’t anything wrong with that as long as your students don’t get bored.

It’s helpful, though, to lớn have sầu “work days” or “reading days” that allow for flexibility & schedule changes.

Also, remember that literature circles vày not have to lớn meet for the entire class period. You can teach your mini lesson (10 minutes) and then have them complete their task (10 – 15 minutes). Wrap up và move sầu on khổng lồ other lessons you need lớn work on (writing, vocabulary, etc.). This also helps prevent boredom và keeps students on task.

How bởi vì I assess their work?

If students have a group task to lớn complete as a result of your mini lessons, then you can use that as a formative assessment. You can ask students lớn complete an activity as a group and then independently.

If you decide to lớn require a summary for each reading section, you can assess that.

You can ask students to complete a summative assessment or project as a group, or you can use their work throughout the book club meeting as an assessment.

Use a folder that students can use to build their literature circle workbook, notes, and summaries. Then, you can use that thư mục as an assessment as well.

Be sure lớn collect và assess work often! Students can get behind quickly or their work with be superficial if they don’t feel it is valued or important.

What could go wrong and how to lớn fix it

Whatifstudentsaren’tprepared? There are several ways you can giảm giá with this.

1.Why didn’t the student finish the reading? Is it too difficult, too long? Was there enough time to complete the reading? Does the student need additional help in completing the reading?

Try khổng lồ understvà the “why” first.

2. Students who aren’t prepared to lớn discuss the reading passage can go to lớn the library or another place in the classroom khổng lồ read. Often students are motivated by not wanting to lớn miss out.

Groups aren’t working together or one person is doing all the work. Sometimes you can address this by simply pulling up a chair khổng lồ the group and listening in on what is going on. If this is a persistent problem, you can assign numbers to each person in the group (1, 2, 3, 4) & then have sầu different people be the leader each meeting or week.

Groups aremovingatdifferentrates. You may have sầu one group that finished the mini lesson task quickly and another group that struggles. Use this as an opportunity to lớn determine what those groups need. Perhaps you want to include a “challenge” task for each activity that will push students who need it.

Studentworkissub par.

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This is why I didn’t like using the “roles” for literature circles. I felt lượt thích students weren’t really digging deep and interacting with the text. If student work is falling below standards, try khổng lồ determine the reason why.

When you provide students with regular feedbaông chồng, their work usually improves. They’ll know what you expect from them.

Pulling up a chair & sitting with a group works wonders in their work output!

Give sầu literature circles a try! They are so worth it! Fun for your students và fun for you!


Chuyên mục: literature