Circles by firstname.lastname@example.org is licensed by CC by 2.0
For my 20 hour learning project, I have chosen to learn all about literature circles. This is a topic that I did learn some information about in my Language Arts methods class and I will share some of that information here but I would like to spend more time researching. I would like to break this project into two sections: first, I’ll discuss the information I’ve gathered about literature circles and attempt to provide a clear understanding of what they are and how they work; second, I will use books that I’ve read to specifically explain how educators can use literature circles in their classrooms.
Reading in the round by Let Ideas Compete is licensed by CC by 2.0
So, let’s jump on in!
You may be asking, “What in the world are literature circles?” or if you are an educator, you probably have a better answer for that question than I. I’ll start by giving you the description that I learned in methods class. Literature circles are small groups of students who are not grouped by ability level in reading but it is not the same as small group reading. These groups or circles work together to discuss literature in a detailed manner.
Storytime at the library by Christchurch City Libraries is licensed by CC by 2.0
Literature circles can be used at any age or grade-level and should be student centered as well as guided by students. Each student within the group is assigned a different role in their group. There are five main roles that can be used in literature circles but this is where they can become more personalized to fit the needs of the students. The roles are:
I will go over the responsibilities of each of these roles but first, let me say a bit more about how educators can personalize these roles to suit their students. If you are teaching a 5th grade class and you know that your students have all but mastered summarizing literature, you may choose to cut the role of summarizer out. In turn, you can also come up with other roles that aren’t typically used and create catchy names for them. (Of course, you can change the names of the roles even if you don’t take away or add any of the original five).
Discussion Director: The discussion director is responsible for keeping things flowing in their group. They obviously “direct” the discussion among group members but this is not all they do. The discussion director also needs to come up with 3-5 questions about the text their group has read and write it in their journal or wherever the teacher prefers. These should be critical thinking questions appropriate for the students’ grade level. The discussion director will read these questions to his or her group members then have them write 3-5 critical thinking questions of their own.
Director by Julien GONG Min is licensed by CC by 2.0
Word Wizard: The word wizard is responsible for locating words within the text that they are not familiar with or do not understand. They will then find definitions for these words and write them down. The teacher may also encourage the word wizard to record especially interesting words such as really good descriptive words, similes, metaphors, etc. Once they have done this they will share their words and definitions with their groups then ask the group members to find and record some of their own words from the text.
Wizard by Neil Tackaberry is licensed by CC by 2.0
Summarizer: The summarizer is responsible for writing a summary of the text their group has read. They will need to include important characters and events without retelling every minute detail. The summarizer will then share their summary with their group and have their group members write their own summaries.
Summary by Ben Terrett is licensed by CC by 2.0
Illustrator: The illustrator’s role is to draw a picture of what they have read in their groups. Once they have drawn their picture they will share with their group then have their group members make their own drawing.
Paddenoverzet + bezoek illustrator stokstaartjes_00114 by leefschool is licensed by CC by 2.0
Connector: The role of the connector is to find connections in the text between the text and themselves, the text and other books, and the text and the world. They will write these down then share with their group members. The group members will then make and record their own connections.
Lego Connect 4 by Ayleen Dority is licensed by CC by 2.0
The teacher should always choose the book or text that students read and discuss in literature circles and these books or texts should always be grade-level appropriate.
This segment of the learning project took me approximately 5 hours of research, planning, writing, editing, and adding graphics. In the next segment, I will discuss HOW literature circles work in more detail.