For self-paced literature circles, students choose their own reading material, respond to reading in a journal, and talk about their books daily in small groups. The teacher guides the work through structured prompts and by rotating participation with the groups. Students read at their individual levels, while heterogeneous grouping provides peer support. This lesson is a structured guideline for helping students learn to think about the books they read, and to ask questions about books shared by other students. It is especially appropriate for mixed-age and upper primary classes, or for cross-grade buddy work. From Theory to Practice
Talking about books supports written responses to reading.
Sharing books orally can help students recall main plot points and details in the stories they read.
Working in heterogeneous groups provides support and modeling for students who need assistance.
Choosing their own reading materials helps students learn to read for pleasure.
Sharing thoughts about reading introduces students to a wide variety of books.Further ReadingDaniels, Harvey, and Marilyn Bizar. 1998. Methods That Matter: Six Structures for Best Practice Classrooms. York, ME: Stenhouse.Fountas, Irene C., and Gay Su Pinnell. 2001. Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3-6): Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
The Students Will:
- read independently for an extended time.
- write personal thoughts about stories they read.
- talk about stories in small groups, responding to given prompts.
- ask questions about shared stories.
- use details about stories they read to respond in writing to specific prompts.
Instructional Plan Resources
General classroom supplies (blank 8x11 paper for journal pages; 12x18 construction paper for covers; mimeographed directions and questions list; access to the classroom library; chart paper; markers).
A read-aloud story that has an interesting character and a clear problem and solution. Two possibilities are Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola, or Miss Nelson Is Missing by Harry Allard.