As educators, we have seen the success that comes from having students independently apply comprehension skills and strategies to text, and then come together with their peers to discuss, review, and reflect upon their learning. This popular method of analyzing literature (often referred to as literature circles or book clubs) has truly impacted the way students engage with literary texts, however, many traditional literature circle roles or procedures fall short when it comes to getting students to apply these skills to non-fiction and informational text. Many middle school students are proficient at reading and comprehending fictional stories, however, when it comes to understanding informational text, their skills often begin to break down.
What are Inquiry Circles?
Inquiry Circles are interest-based investigation groups, in which students gather analyze informational text to explore a specific topic or question.
This student-led process involves students developing their own questions about a topic, which organically arise from reading authentic non-fiction texts, which students choose for themselves.
Each student in the circle has a role to analyze the text for its relevance to their topic as well as their inquiry question. Ever Inquiry Circle session allows students to share and evaluate information as well as continue the inquiry process.
There are six roles that allow students to use different analytical skills:
•The Moderator: Chooses a text that helps answer inquiry question and facilitates the discussion and development of new questions.
•The Principal Investigator: Identifies significant facts and information from the text that specifically answer the inquiry question.
•The Indexer: Looks for important words and phrases, identifies denotative and connotative meanings, and identifies relevance to topic and inquiry question.
•The Evaluator: Makes connections to other texts read and evaluates the importance and relevance.
•The Inquisitor: Reviews the text with a critical eye and develops questions regarding the information presented in the reading.
•The Interpreter: Synthesizes information from graphics in the text or develops graphical representations of key points.
This download comes with all of the role sheets and detailed suggestions how to implement Inquiry Circles into your instruction.
Inquiry Circles are also perfect for Science and Social Studies teachers who want to increase reading comprehension of content textbooks or trade articles.