Say Something is a method that Faye Brownlie talks about in her book “Grand Conversations, Thoughtful Responses: A Unique Approach to Literature Circles.” It is a method where each group (4-7 people) come together. Each person has a passage that they wish to share. The first person will share and after they share the passage the next person will make a comment/connection/thought on the passage that was read. Everyone else in the group listens to the one speaker. After the thought is shared the next person shares their comment/connection/thought and so on. After everyone in the group shares there is time for free ranging discussion to go further. The next person then shares their passage and the process repeats. Over time it will go quicker and flow easily.
This method is inclusive to everyone because nobody can dominate the discussion and everyone can have their viewpoints shared. Also, for the students that read slower it is a method where they can still contribute to the discussions without worrying that they are behind the other readers. It is also important to stress to students not to select passages that are spoilers and could ruin the rest of the book for the other group members. Brownlie also says that the students that are ahead could provide motivation to the other students to catch up and get to the juicy parts of the book. Using the Say Something strategy gets rid of roles which is supposed to allow for more authentic discussions about the book.
As a teacher it is important to explain what types of passages students should look for when choosing one to bring to the discussion. According to Brownlie students should look for funny, well written, confusing or exciting passages. By emphasizing what passages fit under the criteria it can help create dynamic discussions. The discussions are meant for students to garner a further understanding. It is important for the teacher to sit in on the lit circles to hear what insights the students are making. Be sure to look for text to self, text to text, and text to world connections. This partnered with the students journals and assignments will be a big part of where their marks will come from.
I was fortunate enough to see the Vice Principal at my practicum school do an introductory lesson for the Say Something strategy. She told me to model this strategy with a text/article that is relevant to the students this then makes for an easy example for all students to follow. She had all the students read an article on social media and how it is affecting happiness in kids. She also made sure to have the students use highlighters to mark sentences or facts that resonated with the students. Next she made a group (3 teachers 1 student) to scaffold how to do the Say Something strategy. We each shared our thoughts on a passage and then had the class comment on the things that the group shared. The group then did another example of the strategy to really scaffold how to do it properly. Then the students broke into their lit circle groups and first tried the say something about the article, second about their books. At the end of the lesson the teacher did a recap and asked the students, “Why did we do this strategy?”
After seeing how to implement the strategy I would also recommend using a class wide text/article do demonstrate how to do the Say Something strategy. It makes it very clear and easy to follow. It is critical to select a text that is relevant to the students so they can easily make connections. Discussions are the foundations of lit circles so being able to scaffold and get the students on the right path to engage in the discussions is the first step in getting lit circles going in your classroom.