Literature Circles

For the last couple weeks, the students have been participating in literature circles.  The theme of the books they are reading is people with differences.  The students got a brief overview of each book and then chose the top 3 books they wanted to read.  The books we are reading for literature circles include:  Out of My Mind, Rules, Stargirl, Maniac Magee, Mockingbird, and Tangerine.  The book Out of My Mind was so popular that we actually have two small groups of students reading this book.  The students are given a section of the book to read about 2-3 times per week.  They also complete a literature circle preparation sheet on each section of assigned reading.  The literature circle preparation sheet has 5 sections on it including:  discussion questions, connections, vocabulary, quotable moments, and a picture.  The students in the group split up these sections so each group member only has to do 1-2 sections of this sheet.  The sections rotate each assigned reading so each student completes different sections of the sheet.  For example, if the student has discussion questions for this meeting, they could possibly have vocabulary for the next meeting with their group.  Each group is responsible for deciding the rotation of the “jobs” on the literature circle preparation sheet.  The students get to go over their part of the sheet and discuss the section of reading with the rest of their group members on the day the reading/literature circle preparation sheet is due.  This allows the students to talk through the book and get new insights into what’s happening.  My 6th grade students did literature circles last year so they are familiar with the process and the 5th graders are doing a great job with it.  I explained how important it is to read the section by the assigned due date and have the literature circle preparation sheet completed so the student isn’t letting the rest of their group members down because they are unprepared.  When our literature circle books are completed we will be doing a final project with our literature circle group.  The students were given a list of options for this final project to be thinking about while they read the book.