5 Reasons to Use Lit Circles in the Classroom

Literature Circles
In the past, students often complained when I mentioned anything about reading in class. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but E/LA is going to have quite a bit of reading! This is where lit circles came in... they're student-centered, collaborative, and the best part... students love them! My love of lit circles isn't a secret. I blogged about this previously, explaining how to integrate them digitally. I recently created a printable option as well.

No matter which format you choose, if you implement them with clear expectations, you can't go wrong. To make it incredibly clear for students, I provide step-by-step details that outline exactly what they're expected to do. The group leader each week (which is typically the discussion director for the week in my lit circles) follows the script. This ensures that each role is discussed in detail so that all students in the group are comprehending each of the areas addressed.

Lit Circle Script
Here are 5 of the reasons lit circles are my go to year after year:
  1. Lit Circles incorporate a variety of important standards that students need to be able to use. For my literature circles, I make sure that main idea/supporting details, characterization, vocabulary, figurative language, and discussion questions are addressed each week.
  2. Student-Centered- Lit circles are ran by students which allows them to have some power (or let them think they do) and be less dependent on the teacher. Of course the teacher will monitor the groups while they work, but it's also a great way to put students in charge of their learning. 
  3. Collaborative- Part of the weekly lit circle meetings requires students to discuss each role, answer questions, etc. I always let them know that if another group member disagrees or has a response that the student didn't consider, they can always modify their answers accordingly. This is also where I find the lit circle scripts to be most important. By following the script, each role is clearly addressed and proper discussions take place.
  4. Requires the use of speaking and listening among students- These skills are often skipped over or very little time is spent having students practice using them. From the moment I introduce lit circles, I repeatedly discuss that listening is key! If a group member doesn't do this, they lose points for that week. I also model what this should look like- both how they should speak and what others should be doing when someone else is speaking. This is another reason I rely on the script... it highlights areas that need to be discussed but also allows room for flexibility.
  5. Flexibility- As the teacher, you can give students the option to pick their own books (after narrowing it down to a specific topic or theme) or you can pick books that you feel would be appropriate. There isn't a right or wrong way to run lit circles. You as the teacher knows your students best. Therefore, you organize it the way you feel would be most beneficial. Lit circles don't have to be done every single day or in the exact same way. Decide on the time frame that works best and use it.
Check out some of my students work from our most recent literature circles. We used the digital format this time. Either format you use, they look great displayed around the room or on bulletin boards.

Lit Circle Jobs

Lit Circle Jobs

Lit Circle Jobs
Lit Circle Jobs
If you'd like to check my digital lit circles out, click here. For the printable version, click here.

For those that have used lit circles, what works well that you've tried? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

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