Literature Circles

Hello bloggers, today I am excited to share my literature circles task cards and worksheets with you! I have been working on this bundle for quite some time and am so happy to finally reveal it.
 Click {HERE} to get a better look at my TPT store.

If  you are only interested in purchasing the task cards and not the worksheets, check out my "Literature Circles Task Cards" {HERE}.

Literature Circles has been an activity I have enjoyed engaging my students in for the past few years to provide a break from mundane reading instruction. Not only are literature circles fun, but they provide wonderful benefits for young readers. Read on to learn some of the benefits of bringing literature circles into your classroom.

Literature Circles are a great way to provide your students with the opportunity to engage in the many tasks that are carried out by effective readers including making predictions, making connections, questioning, visualizing, analyzing character traits, etc. Moreover, they provide a fun and interactive way to get students to respond to text. Since the shift into the Common Core State Standards, students are being asked to "read, write, and speak grounded in evidence from the text" and literature circles help students do just that.
If that isn't enough to convince you, did you know that you can use literature circles to differentiate your instruction and accommodate your students' reading abilities and interests?
Are you sold yet? I have been for some time!

For the past few years, I used literature circles with my former third grade students. My task cards weren't very fancy since I hadn't been introduced the the world of digital paper, borders, and clipart outside of Microsoft Office, but nevertheless, my students loved carrying out the roles on the task cards.

Here's a pic of my original task cards:

Now, take a look at my revised task cards:

(The cuteness level has definitely been raised! Don't you agree?)
My adorable clipart is courtesy of Ivee's Designs. Like what you see? 
Check out her TPT store {HERE} to see some more adorable clipart.

Due to my high success rate with literature circles in previous years, I decided to test them out with my second grade students this year. No surprise, my second graders loved them too! Every day after the day I introduced literature circles to them, my students hounded me to know if literature circles would be on our schedule for the day. They looked forward to the days in which they could carry out their very own jobs and sit around the classroom wherever they felt most comfortable. (During our literature circle sessions, I like to allow students to find the "right" spot for them to work, whether it be at their desks or elsewhere. Funny enough, the floor was a popular spot.)

Here's a picture of my completed Literature Circles Folder set
and copies of the text we used:

In my "Literature Circles Task Cards and Worksheets" bundle I include a "Literature Circles Guide" which explains two different options for setting up literature circles in your class (one option includes using full page task cards and one option includes using half page task cards). In previous years, I have implemented literature circles using half page task cards and student folders. However, this year with the creation of my worksheets, I decided to change it up and use the full page task cards set up. The information is the same, so selecting which option to go with is simply a matter of preference and convenience.

To get an idea of the difference between the two task card size options
 here's a comparison of them side by side:

Once you have made your decision, you can get started prepping your materials.
As previously mentioned, this year, I chose to go with the full page task card folder set up.

Here are the simple steps I took to create my literature circles' folders:

Voila! That simple.
Once I had my folders ready, I was ready to introduce my students to literature circles.

 Since I finished the updated task cards and worksheets towards the end of the year, my students were already familiar with many of the reading comprehension skills necessary to complete the tasks. Therefore, I didn't have to go into lengthy explanations of each skill, but rather a quick review when introducing the tasks.

However, normally, when starting literature circles, I introduce and model each task through whole group mini-lessons of the comprehension skill in line with our district's pacing guide. Then, once I have introduced students to a number of tasks and feel students are comfortable using them, I assign tasks to individual students or pairs of students and begin literature circles in small groups. To read more about whole group vs. small group literature circles implementation, check out my FREE Literature Circles Guide {HERE}.

Again, since I introduced literature circles at the end of the year, I only implemented it as a whole group lesson with my second graders. It happened to be that I finished my bundle while our class was studying the continent of Africa. As a result, I chose to engage my students in a whole group literature circle with the African Folktale Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.

To complete this literature circle (including responding to the text and presenting), it took my students approximately five 30 minute sessions.The amount of sessions needed varies for each book and group of students. Make sure to use your own discretion and knowledge of your students' abilities to decide how much time and how many sessions to provide your students in order to finish their literature circles.

Take a peek of some of the students at work and of their finished worksheets:

(FYI: I assigned certain tasks to individual students to work on independently and other tasks such as the connector, discussion director, psychologist and investigator to pairs of students to allow them to bounce ideas off of each other.)

Psychologists at work
Completed Psychological Form

Story Organizers at work

Completed Venn Diagram

Researcher at work

Completed Researcher planner and worksheet

Discussion Director Folder and Questions (Answer Key on the back)

Investigator Folder and Genre Worksheet
(Students only investigated the genre and author's purpose.)

After the students finished their work, I provided students with the opportunity to presented their responses to the class. Students presented in the form of an oral presentation. However, in the past I have encouraged students to come up with creative ways to share their responses (i.e. poster, role play, "game show", etc.)

 After each student's presentation, the audience was given the opportunity to share two comments or questions with the presenter(s). I always take time to allow the audience to provide the presenters with feedback because I believe it not only assists students in becoming better presenters, but it fuels further discussion. At first, students' feedback was not exactly what I was looking for. I had  a lot of students commenting on the volume of the speaker's voice or how clearly they spoke (which is good feedback, but not what I wanted to spark conversation). However, once I redirected students' focus and asked them to comment or question on the content of the speaker's presentation, some excellent discussions arose
(i.e. some feedback I encouraged students to give was to comment on whether they agreed/disagreed with the speaker's response and why and what they would have written differently and why).

Here are some photos of students' carrying out their presentations:

Word Wizard's Presentation

Illustrator selecting students for comments or questions after her presentation.

Connectors' Presentation

Discussion Directors quizzing students on their knowledge of the story.

Finally, when students completed their presentations, I gathered all of the students' worksheets and created a class book to add to our classroom library for other students or classes to read.
(Class books also work great when implementing small group literature circles with a variety of texts because they give students the opportunity to read their classmates' responses about different texts.)

Class Book Cover

View of the inside of the class book
 (composed of students' worksheets stapled behind the cover page).

Thank you for taking the time to read to the end of this post! I know it was a lengthy one, but I hope you have enjoyed reading about how I use literature circles to enhance my reading instruction and decide to implement them in your own classroom.

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1 comment

  1. What a great idea. I am going to try to go by your classroom this week so I can get further information on this. I would love to implement this next year in my classroom.


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