Much of my reading curriculum is made up of literature circles. The students learn what a literature circle is in the more traditional approach at the beginning of the school year. They look at each assigned reading through a specific perspective, depending on which assignment they have been given. After a set amount of time, the students read their chapter(s), complete their literature circle "job" and then meet with their 5-6 person literature circle and me. While the group discusses the section they read and the jobs they did, I observe and grade them on their preparation, presentation and participation.
In this link, you will find the check off list I use when monitoring a literature circle. Look for my rubrics that are used post-meeting to grade each student on preparation, presentation and participation.
I've refined this program extensively since I began teaching and have found this to be really successful. If you think you might want to dive into literature circles but aren't sure how, I'm happy to answer questions about what worked well for me! Feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org