English 11 Literature Circles
Definition of Literature Circle: In literature circles, small groups of students discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students' responses to what they have read. You may hear and talk about events and characters in the book, the author's craft, or personal experiences related to the story.
Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach. Students reshape and add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers.
Finally, literature circles guide students to deeper understanding of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response.
Perhaps the easiest way to understand what literature circles are is to examine what they are not.

Literature Circles are...
Literature Circles are not...
Reader response centered
Teacher and text centered
Part of a balanced literacy program
The entire reading curriculum
Groups formed by book choice
Teacher-assigned groups formed solely by ability
Structured for student independence, responsibility, and ownership
Unstructured, uncontrolled "talk time" without accountability
Guided primarily by student insights and questions
Guided primarily by teacher- or curriculum-based questions
Intended as a context in which to apply reading and writing skills
Intended as a place to do skills work
Flexible and fluid; never look the same twice
Tied to a prescriptive "recipe"


Teacher's Assessment Checklist:


Teacher's Planning Guide:
Reading Log Worksheet:

Tips for Working in a Group:

Handouts for Lit. Circle Discussions:



Interactive Reading:
Lit Circle Handouts:

Double Entry Journal Directions: