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Beyond Literature Circles

How to set up classroom reading groups that empower students.
by

Debby Smith

on 28 August 2011

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Transcript of Beyond Literature Circles

Remember, you can individualize the model to your claSSROOM'S NEEDS, PERSONALITY, AND CULTURE. Once you have books and groups in place, the key is having quality tasks ready for students and groups to move into at every juncture. Enjoy your
book clubs! I'd like to share some ideas about book clubs, a variation on the "literature circle" theme. Let's talk about kids and books. Hi, Books "Choice is essential, as each participant needs the opportunity to work with a text that matters to him or her. Though readers tend to select books that match their ability level, ultimately, selection should be driven by interest." Why a Book Club? Book clubs provide the choice, engagement, rich insights and learning environment of lit circles, but leave behind the rigid roles that are part of the lit circle model. Plan It's time to launch your groups! Now you are ready for the fun part! Clubs How does it work? Booktalks? What?? There are several important aspects of book selection.

Two of the
most critical: and student choice. Your Students will absolutely embrace the activity if they are invited to choose from several books that sound great! 1. 3. Come in many shapes.
Offer the benefits of Lit circles
(engagement, choice, groups)
but with a major difference: 2. Literature Circles, book clubs, literature study groups.....

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

We'll make a distinction. Flexibility Select the books Launch your clubs Class Where can I find more information? O Photo by Chocolategeek Photo by JeremyHall dynamic booktalks First, you set the parameters.

Are you using a universal theme?

Do you have varying levels of abilities among your students?

Does the time frame allow lengthy novels, or should your select shorter books?

Do you have a collection of small sets? NOTHING gets students excited about
reading a particular book more
than a dynamic book talk. Your best source for good
booktalks is
your media specialist. Other possibilities:

You!
Students
other teachers
online talks or hints Literature circles Offer the benefits of
choice
cooperative groups
whole books rather than excerpts
structured roles Book Clubs A book club is "the gathering of a small group of peer readers to share insights about a common text." Parsons, Sue Christian et. al., "Literature Study Groups: Literacy Learning 'With Legs'," Middle School Journal, May 2011. Incorporate Book clubs into
the regular classroom
every day for a period of weeks. The teacher does legwork ahead of time: Create the culture of respect and sharing in the classroom. Structure the unit's lessons to allow for reading time every day. There is whole-class instructional time as part of every class period. There is Book Club time every day. Each club meets one or two times per week during book club time. If a student's club is not meeting, that day will be reading time for him. Now what? "While discussion is directed talk, usually focused on a specific goal or instructional point ... dialogue calls for full-contact engagement by all participants." There are a number of techniques for allowing students to choose their books, while controlling group size. Lottery numbers Student response systems Each day will be unique.
Teach your students to look for the day's agenda. You have already taught them about classroom procedures and expectatioins. Your organization is key to the clubs' success. This is how the students' activities flow: Parsons, Sue Christian et. al., "Literature Study Groups: Literacy Learning 'With Legs'," Middle School Journal, May 2011. Student choice
creates clubs. At first, you will need to provide more guidance and structure. As your students become practiced, they will be more independent and you will retreat more. Individuals on reading days Groups on discussion days Groups who finish their book before other groups Teach students to note their questions about and responses to what they are reading. Model it! Establish the habit of using steno books debby.smith@kcs.k12.nc.us Books and "fun questions" are
ready on book club meeting day Fun questions are generic, but sometimes
also include book-specific ones http://tinyurl.com/beyondlitcircles This Prezi: My email: On meeting days, each group has a personalized basket waiting for them. Booktalks online www.scholastic.com/librarians/ab/booktalks.htm http://nancykeane.com/booktalks/default.htm "Book Circles." Dr. Bruce Taylor http://coedpages.uncc.edu/dbtaylor/Resources/Book%20Circles.pdf and the payoff: 7th grade student "If everybody puts their 2 cents in, it helps me comprehend the book better." Beyond Literature Circles Debby Smith
Kannapolis Middle School
Kannapol.is, NC photo by Vipul ㏄ Mathur CC Licensed for reuse Google Docs and forms Poll Everywhere "Literature Study Groups." Middle School Journal, May 2011 http://www.nmsa.org/Publications/MiddleSchoolJournal/Articles/May2011/Article5/tabid/2411/Default.aspx Model these! At this point, you have two jobs:
Set each group's page goal
Prepare the boxes Video removed
to ensure student
privacy. Tiffany Fulton, the teacher who synthesized all of this: tiffany.fulton@kcs.k12.nc.us
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