How I Manage Literature Circles

December 22, 2014 – 04:06 pm

Thursday Throw Down is a link up that I host on the first Thursday of each month. Be sure to come and read about all the ways teachers are making their lessons more interactive. This year's interactive literature circles are about as interactive as it gets!

After doing literature circles for a few years and in a few different ways, I decided to do an interactive version this year. Of course, literature circles are, by nature, very interactive. Students are interacting constantly with their classmates and with the literature. But I wanted to throw the “interactive notebook” element in there. I found that, overall, my students took more pride in their weekly role work and did better work to go along with it. I like to give each group a binder or folder that contains all of the handouts they’ll need for the entire unit so that they can be self-sufficient.

1. Book Selection
2. Quizzes (YES, quizzes!)
3. Role Assignments & Work
4. The Actual Reading
5. Group Meetings
6. Student Choice

1 – Book Selection

I’d love to tell you that I pour through books, comparing their literary value and choosing only the best of the best for my literature circles. Unfortunately, I live in the real world. The books you’ll find in my literature circle selection were found

a) as bargains ($1-$2) in the Scholastic Book Clubs brochure

b) on the clearance shelf at Books-a-Million

c) in my classroom closet as a former class novel (from a past teacher)

d) as online specials on eBay, Amazon, etc.

e) purchased used from

Here are some books that have worked well for my literature circles in the past:

6th Grade (3-Week Lit Circles) – Number the Stars, If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period, Rules, My Life As a Book, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit

7th Grade (4-Week Lit Circles) – I Am David, The Eleventh Plague, Al Capone Does My Shirts, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, Rules of Survival, Trouble

Throughout the year, I keep my eyes open for books I can purchase 8-12 of cheaply for possible literature circle books to expand my choices. When planning a round of literature circles, I try to give students 5-6 different choices with a variety of genres and topics, and I try to keep them all about the same length. I look up their AR point values at and try to keep them within a point or two of each other.


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Related posts:

  1. What Is a Literature Circle?
  2. YouTube Literature Circles roles
  3. Printable Literature Circle Jobs
  4. Third Grade Literature Units