Literature Circles Worksheets
A literature circle is a small group of students that gather together to discuss a work of literature that they have experience with. Usually the group is formed in a circle to be able to best hear each other’s contribution to the group, hence the name. Literature circles take on a variety of different forms that are usually different, in some aspect, from classroom to classroom. This method of learning gives readers a chance to see how the same work can be interpreted many different ways. Many teachers seem to feel that this technique not only helps students grow as stronger readers, but as writers also. This is because it helps students to better understand their audience. Another unforeseen benefit of this type of learning is that they help make students more comfortable in social situations. It helps them learn how to share as well as be patient with others.
Literature Circle Worksheets:
My Reflections -
A really sweet organizer to help you reflect on work you have read. It also asks you, "What important contribution did you make to the discussion today?"
Start the Discussion!
- Develop a list of opening questions for your next book discussion
group. Write down possible questions as you read.
- As you read, be on the lookout for puzzling or unfamiliar words.
Write them down as you find them, then look up each word in the dictionary.
Be the Illustrator
- When invited by the discussion director, show your picture to
the group, but don't comment on what you have done.
Literature Circle Summary
- Prepare a brief summary of today's reading. Your summary should
cover the main points, and provide a context for the day's discussion.
Before and After
- This should be worked on before you read a work and after you
finish the work.
- What was going through your mind when you read this book? Did the book remind you of any real life situations? Explain.
After the Discussion...
- This helps you reflect on the type of student you are. Explore the things that you did today.
- Develop a list of questions for your group to discuss about this
part of the book.
- Find connections between the book and your life, and between the
book and the rest of the world.
End - Prepare for Literature Circle by reviewing what happened
at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the book.
Share a Passage
- For this assignment, each group member will share a short passage
from the book that is meaningful to them.
The Progression of Literature Circles
Both teachers and students alike have a natural progression when it comes to their use and engagement with literature circles. At the primary level students are just getting accustomed to sharing their thoughts and accepting those of others within their circles. As they progress to elementary level the emphasis moves from the process to better understanding the works that they are sampling. At the middle school level students start to focus on understanding the complexity of works and spotting literary devices. Although literature circles are not used that often at the high school level, most do to testing requirements, they reemerge at the college level heavily. Many students find this technique to be very beneficial and it also helps them learn how to thrive in a cooperative environment.
Teachers often have their own naturally progression with this teaching technique. Many teachers will start out by forcing a single way for students to progress. As they see success in many different routes, their circles will take on a new shape. The man thing to remember here is that there is no one single way to do this. It can come in many different flavors and shapes. Teachers need to accept that what works for one student doesn’t work for all students and fill their bag of tricks to help all students get a great deal out of this.
When you begin to use literature circles in your classroom, we would suggest that assign each student a role to participate in the circle. In most cases you will have less roles available for students to fill then there are students. If this is the case, you can assign roles to groups. It is important that you rotate these jobs and groups every time you circle up. This way students get an opportunity to learn a wide range of skills.
Roles In Literature Circles
There are primarily eight roles that apply to literature circles, but I have seen teachers go as few as four and as many as a baker's dozen. The first group is usually assigned the role of summary writing. They basic put a short piece together that covers the general take away from the reading and the key points. This can be followed by the role of discussion leader. This role requires students to write a series of questions that could be used to discuss as a class. They are often open-ended questions about emotions that the work brought to the surface. The next role is what I call the Real-life Revealer. This role requires students to determine how this story relates to them or other class members in real world terms. Every group needs an artist and literature circles are no different. At the end of the work this person or group brings the story to life in a single drawing. The next group is what I call the Stage Director. They basically act as if they were researching how to put the story on Broadway. They need to determine all the different scenes that are present across the work and they create a short timeline to reflect this. As if they were determining all the different sets that would need to be built, if it were a play. The next role is what I call the term tracker. They are responsible to identify words that may be unfamiliar to most students in the work and learn their definition. The next role I call the connection commander. This group picks one character and they connect them to a real-world person, they can be famous or someone everyone knows. They will need to give three reason why this character reminds them of this person. The last job is often called Researcher or Historian. The role they serve is to dig up background information on either the time period, culture, or something portrayed in the work.