Literature Circles

Literature Circles: small, temporary discussion groups of students who are reading the same story, poem, article, chapter, or book. While reading each group-determined portion of the text (either inside or outside of class), each member prepares to take specific responsibilities in the upcoming discussion; and everyone comes to the group with the notes needed to perform that job. The circles have regular meetings, with discussion roles rotating each session. When they finish a book, circle members plan a way to share highlights of their reading with the rest of the class. They then trade members with other groups, select more reading, and move into a new cycle. Once members can successfully conduct their own self-sustaining discussions, formal discussion roles may be dropped. Literature circles can easily be adapted to nonfiction resources and are another effective way to involve students in textual material.