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How to Host a Kid’s Literature Circle

Instructions and free printables to help you hold a kid's literature circle in your classroom or homeschool group with any novel

I love finding new ways to get kids excited about reading.  Don’t you?

This week has been full of reading activities–Holding an Outdoor Book Tasting, Story Time, Activities for Learning, Creating a Novel Brochure…  Let’s keep the fun going with literature circles for kids.

Literature circles are very like book clubs for kids, but with a little more structure.  If you’re a homeschooler, there are instructions for pulling things together here.  Once you have a group set up, you can plan your literature circle.

How to Hold a Kid’s Literature Circle

Instructions and free printables to help you hold a kid's literature circle in your classroom or homeschool group with any novel

A literature circle is like a book club in that kids read the same book and meet to discuss it.  But there’s a little more to it than that.

Literature circles not only increase enjoyment of reading, they make the readers more aware of their personal reactions to the book.  Because they will be having literary discussions with other kids and will be in charge of leading part of the discussion, they will think more deeply about what they’re reading and pay closer attention.  Hearing what other kids think about the book will help them find new ways of analyzing and deepen critical thinking skills.

There are roles assigned to the kids and they rotate with each meeting.  The roles are really cool because they give each child a chance to lead the discussion in an important way and help them all think of things to talk about.

There are 4 roles to assign, so if you only have 4 kids in your group, they all 4 get a role.  Assign these roles before they start reading, then reassign them at the next meeting.  If you have more than 4 kids, rotate through them until everyone gets a chance to play a role.

The roles

Discussion Director

This person asks the who, what, when, where, and why questions of the group.  He or she will identify the important aspects of the reading and ask  questions to increase comprehension.  This person also facilitates the discussion and keeps everyone on track.  There are example questions for the Discussion Director in the free printable at the end of the post.

Illuminator

This person will choose 4 sections of the reading to read aloud to the group and discuss.  These passages should be meaningful, funny, puzzling, and/or important to the story.  He or she should keep notes about why they chose each section of the reading, questions they can ask, and what they would like to discuss about each section. There are example questions for the Illuminator in the free printable at the end of the post.

Connector

The connector finds connections between the reading and the world outside the book.  She can make connections to her own life, something she’s studied, news events, other books, or pop culture.  She leads the discussion about connections and should allow others to make connections as well. There are example questions for the Connector in the free printable at the end of the post.

Vocabulary Enricher

This person will watch for interesting or new words in the reading.  He will keep a list of these words and their definitions, as well where they can be found in the book, and make copies to share with the group.  He should lead the group to discuss the context of the words within the reading. There are example questions for the Vocabulary Enricher in the free printable at the end of the post.

The free printable also includes a sheet for keeping track of the roles.

The plan

First meeting

  1. Choose a book that can be enjoyed by all members
  2. Introduce book to members
  3. Announce how often you will meet
  4. Assign roles to 4 of the members
  5. Assign the reading
  6. Explain what is expected of the members

Second meeting

  1. Kids freely discuss what they liked/disliked about the reading
  2. Discussion director leads the who, what, when, where, why questions
  3. Illuminator reads 1st chosen section then leads the discussion about it
  4. Illuminator continues with sections 2-4
  5. Connector explains connections made and leads discussion about connections
  6. Vocabulary Enricher hands out list of words and leads the discussion about context
  7. Kids finish up any discussion they feel appropriate
  8. Roles are reassigned
  9. Reading for next meeting is assigned
  10. Snack time!

Ensuing meetings

  • Follow the steps for the second meeting until the book is complete.

There is a plan agenda in the free printable, too!

Choosing books

Choosing books for a literature circle is not a difficult process.  There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the text can be easily read/followed by all members
  • The book should have something meaningful to teach them or expose them to
  • Have layers of meaning for the kids to catch
  • Include literary devices such as figurative language, foreshadowing, flashback, imagery, etc.

Suggested books:

Printable

It’s a lot to keep track of, isn’t it?  Don’t worry, I got you.  Download this free printable and get organized.  Because who doesn’t want to hold a literature circle?

Free printable organizations sheets for holding a kid's literature circle

I mean, are you in?  Because this is both fun and super educational–my favorite way to enjoy books!

Love wins,

KT

Want more ways to make reading fun?  Check out:

How to Create a Novel Brochure Book Report

An Outdoor Book Tasting is a fun way to get kids interested in books and reading!

Hold an Outdoor Book Tasting for Kids

Having a weekly family book talk is a great way to encourage your children to read and keep them interested in reading for life

Book Talk: Encourage Family Reading

Guided reading is the best way to allow your kids to read books beyond their 'reading level' and to have fun and bond as a family

Reading Without Boundaries

10 Days of Tips for Homeschool Moms

Don’t forget! This is part of the 10 Day series for Homeschool Moms.  Check out tips from these other bloggers:

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KT Brison
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KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys.Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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7 Comments

  1. My girls and I are currently planning our book clubs/literature circles for this coming school year so this post is extremely timely! Thanks so much for sharing it at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…In Real Life – Booknificent Thursday Link-Up Party #209My Profile

  2. This is such a thorough article! I love how you have assigned roles to 4 of the children. I would never have thought of this. My kids are a little young for this at the moment but I’m saving this idea for a few years time! #HSBAT

    • Thanks bunches! I love that this puts the kids in charge instead of looking to an adult to lead them. I would enjoy playing any one of the roles (and would have LOVED it as a kid), so I can honestly recommend it as cool. lol

  3. I love this idea! I agree with the previous comment: never thought to just put my kid in charge! great printable to help out.
    Rebecca recently posted…Learning about Life in the Colonial Era and Pretending to be a Colonial KidMy Profile

  4. This is a priceless resource. I run a book club but I never thought of handing over the reins to the children. It makes them more involved and responsible if they have a hand in guiding the discussion. Thank you for this idea. Must put it work. Bookmarking your post.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Books and MemoriesMy Profile

    • You’ve made me a very happy blogger today. 🙂 My favorite thing is providing new ways to make reading fun and educational. I’m so glad I was here for you. Please let me know how it works out!

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