Divide the class into groups (usually 6 per group) and assign a specific role to each student. The group reads the same story together and then completes individual tasks. Once the individuals are finished, they come together in the group to discuss.
The roles are usually as follows:
- Discussion Director - Come up with open ended questions about what has been read and discuss them with the group.
- Summariser - Write a summary of what happened in the story.
- Word Wizard - Finds definitions for the difficult words in the story.
- Illustrator - Illustrates an important scene in the story.
- Real Life Connector - connects events in the story to events that have happened in their own life.
- Story Connector - connects events in the story to events that have happened in other stories.
As you can see, some roles are more difficult than others. There are a number of ways to get around this. The way I do it is I start the class off in mixed ability groups and I assign the more difficult roles to the students I feel will be more able to cope. In this way, the weaker students are able to see the role modelled for them. The next time we do a story, I put the class in differentiated groups based on their reading level. I assign a story appropriate for the group and I let the students pick their own roles. The next time we do a story, the learners stay in the same groups, but have to swap roles. This continues until the end of the term, when I review the groups.
How do you do Literature Circles in your classroom?