Have you heard of Literature Circles? In literature circles, small groups of students gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students’ response to what they have read. It is a wonderful way to engage them in rich conversations about shared readings. Students can express their opinions, predictions, and questions about a text in a productive, structured way. Often the teacher will ask several students to take on specific group roles which are designed to develop reading, speaking, and thinking abilities. Many children in the Lower Elementary program take part in Literature Circles.
Above, groups of children are talking about the books The Tarantula in My Purse, and Balto. The children take turns being the Discussion Director, to moderate the discussion and keep it on track, and all the students come up with questions based on a selection from their books. They take on specific jobs, such as the Character Captain, who describes the characters, and the Setting Surveyor, who writes about the importance of the time and place of the book. Literature Circles allow children to delve more deeply into books, and to take on leadership roles within their groups.
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