From the moment I saw my first literature circles in action over 15 years ago, the concept grabbed me. I was visiting another school and observed kids meeting together to discuss books they were reading. I remember thinking, "What a terrific idea! I've got to try that with my students!" Having kids form reading groups based on their own book selections seemed like the ideal way to teach reading. However, as soon as I began to try literature circles, I realized that implementing an effective program wasn't quite as easy as it appeared. I struggled with how to structure the program in a way that would hold kids accountable without dampening their enthusiasm for reading. I tinkered with various types of literature circles, from a highly-structured teacher-directed model similar to guided reading groups to a more loosely-structured, student-directed model. After several years of experimenting, I finally settled on a process I refer to as Classroom Book Clubs which seems to have the perfect combination of flexibility and accountability. Book Clubs are very easy to implement and they don't involve roles or excessive amounts of written preparation. The last few years that I was in the classroom, I used this model to supplement other methods of instruction such as the balanced literacy framework and reading workshop.
My students and I loved this method of using literature circles so much that I decided to create a slidecast program of instructional videos to share the strategies with other teachers. I also held a free webinar on this topic to provide more information and answer questions. During the webinar I explained how Literature Circles fit with the Common Core standards, how to create groups, how to encourage kids to participate actively in the discussions, and more. Participants shared their own strategies via the chat box which made it an interactive, exciting session. You can view the recording from the Literature Circles page on Teaching Resources. I hope you enjoy it!
Teaching Resources ~ http://www.lauracandler.com