Literature Circles Overview
Begin Literature Circles with book talks so students can choose books they want to read. Teachers can then divide students into groups of 4 to 6 members to read their group's chosen book independently and then meet together using roles to support their discussion.
Literature Circle Journals save teachers time by pulling together predetermined roles appropriate for a leveled book. Raz-Plus also provides all the resources you need for literature circles with ANY book. Read the Literature Circles Overview to learn specific protocols with a track-record of success.
Why Use Literature Circles
The Literature Circles White Paper shows how literature circles are an important component of any comprehensive balanced literacy instruction that embeds research-based strategies to meet the demands and rigor of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Content-area Literacy in History, Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.
Each Literature Circle Journal serves as a time saver for teachers and can be easily added to and subtracted from using the Student Resources Journal Pages for each role if students choose different roles to perform with that book.
Watch the How to Use Literature Circle Journals for Books video.
About the Teacher Resources
The Literature Circles Overview explains the protocols for Literature Circles in detail so that you can use Reading A-Z tools in successful Literature Circles.
One set for a fiction book and one for a nonfiction book, a Model Lesson and its annotated examples of Role Descriptions, Bookmarks, and Journal Pages help you teach students how to perform new roles.
Watch the How to Get Started with Literature Circles video.
Two different resources help you determine how well students are performing in literature circles. You use the Self-Evaluation form to teach students how to monitor their own participation in groups. And you assess group participation yourself using an informal Observational Checklist so that you can plan re-teaching or coaching.
About the Student Resources
The Student Planner acts as the front and back cover for any Literature Circle Journal. It helps students stay organized and plan for each group meeting.
Watch the Literature Circle Resources for Your Students video.
These resources become the cornerstone of literature circles. Role Descriptions can be used for whole class instruction on new roles or for re-teaching. Students use Bookmarks to jot notes as they read, and then they apply their thinking in writing using the Journal Pages. Journal Pages become their reference tools for when students participate in their group's discussion.
The Self-Evaluation engages students in planning how they'll participate in groups and in monitoring their own participation.
Susan K. Stewart, Ed.D.
Susan resides in Massillon, Ohio, where she recently retired after 30 years in public education. She has been a classroom teacher, principal, supervisor, and curriculum consultant. Currently, Susan is an Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education at Ashland University. Susan continues to work as a consultant providing professional development focused on implementing a research-based comprehensive, balanced approach for literacy instruction in the classroom.
Action research in 4th through 8th grades using Reading A-Z books led to the development of the roles and protocols for successful implementation of literature circles. Teachers observed higher completion of assigned tasks, meaningful engagement in discussions, improved grades, and fewer discipline problems.
Why Literature Circles?
- Student Choice and Collaboration
- Independent Level Reading and Writing
- Engagement in Deep Discussion of Text
- Modeling and Support
Student Resources Tips
PlannerHelps students stay organized and plan for each Literature Circle meeting.
Role ToolsUse Role Descriptions, Bookmarks, and Journal Pages to help students perform their chosen roles for each reading selection.
Roles for Every Book
Skill Master Roles
For annotated examples of Role Descriptions, Bookmarks and Journal pages, please see Literature Circle Tools For Teachers.