Literature circles are students' equivalent of an adult book club, but with greater structure, expectation and rigor. The aim is to encourage thoughtful discussion and a love of reading in young people. The true intent of literature circles is "to allow students to practice and develop the skills and strategies of good readers" (DaLie, 2001).
Key features of literature circles
Children choose their own reading materials.
Small temporary groups are formed, based on book choice.
Different groups read different books
Groups meet on a regular predictable schedule.
Students use written or drawn notes to guide both their reading and discussion.
Discussion topics come from the students
Group meetings aim to be open, natural conversations. Often the conversations digress to topics relating to the students or loosely to the books, but should eventually return to the novel.
The teacher serves as a facilitator, observer, listener and often a fellow reader, alongside the students. The teacher is not an instructor.
Students are given roles or jobs to complete for each group meeting.
The teacher should model how students should facilitate each role or job.
Evaluation is by teacher observation and student self-evaluation and should also include extension projects.
A spirit of playfulness and fun pervades the room.