Teachers are finding that groups of three to five students can successfully meet together and discuss what they have read if they have definite goals.
While students read they can use the Literature Circle Guide to write notes about what they want to discuss.
1. Groups meet on a regular schedule to discuss their reading. Example: Every two or three days.
2. Kids use written notes (from the Literature Circle Guide or just Post-it Notes) to guide both their reading and discussion. (Artists can make sketches, if they choose.)
3. Discussion topics come from the students. Group meetings aim to be open, natural conversations about what was read, so personal connections, digressions, and open-ended questions are welcome.
4. A group leader can emerge from the group, be assigned, or can be a volunteer. The group leader could also be a rotating position, each group member taking turns in being the leader.
5. The teacher is not the leader of the group, but only a facilitator.
6. Evaluation is by teacher observation and student self-evaluation.
Give each student a small stack of little Post-It Notes. Students can use them to mark the places or pages in their books that they want to discuss. Besides being used for a book mark, the Post-It Notes can be marked with prompts to help students remember what they will want to say in their circle.
The outcome of Literature Circles is amazing. Teachers are finding that students usually conduct themselves in a "professional" manner and talk about astounding things.