Literature Circles


What are Literature Circles?


A literature circle is a group of 3-5 students who gather together to discuss a book they are reading.  In these small groups students help each other make personal connections to the book.  Each group meets for approximately 30 minutes once a week.  What is discussed at each meeting depends on the group members’ individual interests or feelings about the literature.  Each group member has one role that he/she must fulfill at each meeting.


Here is a list of literature circle roles for discussion:


Discussion Director


The Director develops a list of 4 open-ended questions and answers.  He/she discusses (1 at a time) the questions only, focusing on main ideas from the reading and the student’s reactions to the book.  The director asks each member to give his/her response to the question before he/she shares his/her own responses.


Think of these starters for your questions: Why…, If…, What…, Who…, and How…




The Connector communicates in writing 4 connections between the book the group is reading and the outside world.  Some suggestions:


Personal Connection: What aspect of this book has a connection with your own experience or personality?


Spiritual/Ethical connection: What are the criteria for good and evil as presented in this book? or How does this book portray God?


Historical Connection:  Contrast the experience of living during the time period of this novel with living in contemporary culture.  Consider government, values, daily life, and/or technologies.


Technological Connection: Explain one of the technologies that is important to this story, and how the technology works.


Biographical Connection:  What experiences in the author’s life influenced him/her to write on this subject?


Literary Connection: What other pieces of literature can you connect this novel to? Are there movies you can make a connection with? If this novel was turned into a movie, how would you compare it so far?



Passage Reporter


The Passage Reporter selects 4 special passages.  It is your job to read aloud parts of the story to your group in order to help your group members remember some interesting, powerful, puzzling, or important sections of the text. You decide which passages or paragraphs are worth reading aloud, and justify your reasons for selecting them. Some reasons for choosing passages to share might include:


* Pivotal events * Informative * Descriptive * Surprising * Scary *


* Thought-provoking * Funny * Controversial * Confusing * Personally meaningful *


The passage reporter leads the discussion of the special paragraphs and asks each member to give his/her reactions to the passage before the passage reporter shares his/her responses. So that each group member may follow along as you read the passages aloud, please be sure to write down the page number for each passage.



The Artist


The Artist’s job is to share an artistic representation of the material you read for the week. The Artist’s job is to create an illustration (8x10 colored picture) related to the reading for the week.  You must write two (2) paragraphs on the reverse side of your picture: One that describes the scene you’ve chosen, and a second paragraph that explains the reasons why you chose this particular scene.  Here are some suggestions.

Choose one:


Then the illustrator shows the picture without comments to the group.  Each member speculates what the picture represents.  After the group shares, the illustrator gets the last word and shares what the picture means to him/her.