Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Literature Circles Begin this Week

Literature Circles

In our morning class, we have begun literature circles as part of our language homework. We will be doing the book they have for the next four weeks, after which we will do a few weeks of Raz-kids again, before doing another book. Today we tried to organize ourselves into groups based on the book we chose, and figure out which pages we need to read this week and for each of the next four weeks. Literature circles can get confusing, so here is a brief explanation of how it works:

  1. At the beginning of a cycle, I will either put students into specific books, or I will allow them to choose their own.  Often if they choose their own they are more interested, but they sometimes choose books that are too hard. For this first time, I chose the groups.
  2. Next, we spend a bit of time getting organized. The groups get together and have a "meeting" in which they break the book up into roughly 4 equal parts. They are responsible for reading each part over the next four weeks. For example, if the book has 20 chapters, they would read chapters 1-5 in week 1, 6-10 in week 2, and so on. I encourage children not to read on in case they give something away to their group.
  3. They also divide up the jobs in their meeting. The rule is that they can only do a job once in the cycle. Also, the Discussion Director job and Summarizer jobs must be done. They cannot be left out. Here is a link to our planning Literature circle planning sheet
  4. Throughout the four weeks, I expect students to:
    1. read the section they are supposed to each week
    2. do their job for the week and bring it on Friday
That is it for Literature circles! It is meant to work like a highly structured book club, and hopefully gives students a starting point to have rich conversations about the books they are reading.

A few tips:

  1. try not to have your child complete the entire week of literature circle work in one evening. It is far too much. Instead, break up the reading into 2 or 3 nights, and the sheet can be completed another night. It should not take very long to complete the worksheets. 
  2. Encourage your child to provide evidence from the text for each assignment, and to complete his/her work using complete sentences. 
  3. If the reading is overwhelming, have your child read to you, and if you are noticing it will take a long time, then take turns reading chapters, or even pages. 

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