Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Meaningful Book Discussions

My baby is finally sleeping through the night and is going to bed before 10pm so I can actually get something done!  I'm starting to prep for next year and I wanted to share with you one of my favorite reading activities...Literature Circles.

When I did literature circles with my resource room kids, I was amazed at the discussions they would have about the book.  If you have never tried it, you should!  It's easy, I promise!

 I select a few books for a small group to choose from.  I let them vote to pick the book.  Then we section the book off into 6 sections and write down our page numbers in our packet and assign due dates for each section.  Next, we assign the jobs/roles for each section of the book.  There are 6 roles so by splitting the book into 6 sections, each student will complete each role.

The students will follow the schedule, reading the sections and completing their roles on their own.  When we meet, the students have a discussion about the book using their packets as their guide.  

The packet has built in supports so the students can be as independent as possible.  There are question starters and character traits for the students to refer to as well as a page for their roles and schedule.

This isn't a free for all discussion...there is an order and a heirarchy which keeps the students on task. The discussion director (one of the roles) is in charge of the discussion.  Only one person can speak at a time.  The discusion director calls on people to speak.  This took some modeling but once it clicked, they LOVED it!

I LOVED watching them (after we do one book together with a ton of modeling, I only watch the discussions...this is their thing!).  They all had a chance to be in charge and they knew that they needed to have their jobs done so that they could contribute.  They took ownership of their discussions and it makes all the difference in the world! 

Since I am a special ed teacher, I did modify this a little.  Instead of the students doing all the reading and writing on their own, we read the sections together and they also sat with me while doing the writing.  I would walk around and help as needed.

I can't wait to do this with my class this year!  Almost all of my students are 3rd graders now and they are all on the same reading level (F).  This is a great way to make their lower level books seem more like 3rd grade reading.

I have a few different literature circle packets available if you would like to try this.  They are all the same just with different themed graphics on them.  I just permanently dropped the price to $2!