The first step is to make sure every student understands the expectations of what to bring and what happens during a lit circle meeting.
- Bring your lit circle book
- Bring a pencil
- Bring a short description of what you read (“say something blurb”)
- Bring a positive attitude 🙂
A way I experienced lit circles ran was by having students bring a “say something blurb” to the group meeting. With this “say something blurb,” it could have connections they had made with the book, a description of what had happened, or a prediction of what they think may happen next. You may set deadlines for where each student should be at for the next lit circle meeting or could let the students read at their own pace. If you decide to let the students read at their own pace, there must be a final deadline of when the book is to be completed and the assignments. At the start of each meeting discuss who has read the least so they can share first and have nothing spoiled for them. You will have to do a gradual release and after each student shares, they will then return to their desk. With not giving a deadline for each group meeting, it makes it so the student who has read the most will only have one person to share with. This is why I would recommend setting deadlines, that way you have the full group participating for the full time.
As each student discusses what they have read, connections, or predictions, every member of the group must then ask at least one question regarding the text. It may be a good idea to have prompts for the students to use because often they will not come with questions prepared.
Below is a prompt and probes question sheet that could be used:
The teacher may have to facilitate the first few lit circle meetings to get the ball rolling. After a few meetings, you should hope that the conversations the students are having start to sound more natural/organic and they don’t need the Prompt and Probe sheets as often.
There are many other ways to run the lit circle meetings, this was just a successful way I witnessed in an intermediate classroom.
My next post will focus on assessment regarding lit circles!