Category Archives: Reading

Reading and Literature Circles

Inspired by Nic’s post, I thought I would write about reading as well.

We don’t follow a reading program, and believe that students should be free to choose their books. As part of this, students engage in a literature circle with their peers. I have not had much experience with this, as I never had class sets (or group sets) of books before, but I do know that when students engage together in reading, they usually are more passionate.

Recently I have been letting the students “get on” with their literature circle books, I let them take control of where they are going. The groups meet three times a week in the mornings and usually just read together. They have started to use the reading strategies we used together in class, such as Wondering out loud and Stop and Think.

In guided reading, I tend to read out loud, and so far most of the books were picture books. The last book we read though was The Twits, a student choice. And we started talking about characters, out of the blue. And without prompts, the next time the literature circles met, they talked characters too. In order to help them structure their exploration of characters, I suggested using mind-maps, which seemed quite successful.

It’s amazing how well students respond to strategies they find meaningful. It’s great to see them transferring the skills across the disciplines, using wondering out loud strategies in Math and as part of their unit of inquiry.

The First Steps resource has been useful to me, I have been trying to make use of some of the suggested strategies in there.

What do you do for reading? Do you have a literature circle approach?


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