Literature Circle Guide: Framework for Running Efficient Small Reading Groups

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Grade Levels
6th - 9th
Formats Included
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11 pages
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Use this literature circle guide to plan and implement literature circles... tomorrow! All you need is a book (any book will work with this guide- fiction or nonfiction). You can use this same framework over and over again with each new book your students read as a class, in a small group, or you could even use these worksheets for independent practice. Rubrics, planning sheets, and student worksheets are all included. Your students will love the opportunity to discuss and share their thoughts on what they are reading!

The framework creates a space for students to meet at least 4 times throughout the course of their novel. Through the practice the framework provides, your students will be writing open-ended discussion questions; forming text-to-self, text-to-world, and text-to-media connections; analyzing figurative language, author word choice, and unknown words/phrases; and illustrating a movie that they made in their mind while reading!

At each meeting, the students take turns completing and leading the group discussions. There are 4 different roles. For groups larger than 4, you can just select a role to repeat (for example, maybe you always have 2 connectors in each group). The role worksheets provide in-depth instructions and guides for students to prepare for their literature circle discussion.

A few tips for running your literature circles:

  • Tell the students what order they will be presenting in (I always run them in this order: Discussion Director, Vocabulary Extender, Connector, and then Illustrator)
  • Set a timer for each role. Discussion directors and connectors will need more time to present and discuss than the other two roles. Keep literature circles to about 30 minutes tops to prevent students from getting off task.
  • Go over rubric items and expectations ahead of time, warning them that you will be taking note of their on-task behavior during the meetings AND on workdays
  • Move desks so the students are close and can hear each other well
  • As you move around the room during the literature circles, resist the urge to become part of their conversation (unless of course they need guidance or a little push). You want them to lead and keep their conversations going on their own!

Additional resources you might be interested in:

Poetry Unit for Inspiring and Empowering Young Authors

Picture Book Evaluation Project

Two Week Food-Based Writing Unit: Focus on Sensory Detail & Critical Analysis

Thank you and happy teaching!

Mrs. J

©Read and Write Like It Matters

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Total Pages
11 pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
1 month
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