When I first started teaching, I ran literature circles without any sort of organization. I steered clear of anything "worksheet" driven, as my college professors had advised me, and although these loosely organized "book clubs" were fun for the students, I found the conversations to be brief, off topic, and very surface level.
With the help of a wonderful mentor, I began to see that worksheets are OKAY when they lead to engaging conversations and in-depth textual analysis of great literature!
The resource you will find on my TPT page has everything you need to plan, run, and assess your students' literature circles! I use them for every class I teach, for multiple novels a year. The students get into a rhythm and they will start to look forward to these meetings because they will be having FUN talking about their books!
A few tips for running your literature circles:
- Tell the students what order they will be presenting (I always run them in this order: Discussion Director, Vocabulary Extender, Connector, and then Illustrator)
- Set a timer for each role. Discussion directors and connectors will need more time to present and discuss than the other two roles. Keep literature circles to about 30 minutes tops to prevent students from getting off-task
- Go over rubric items and expectations ahead of time, warning them that you will be taking note of their on-task behavior during literature circle meetings AND on work days
- Move desks so that the students are close and can hear each other well
- As you move around the room during the literature circles, resist the urge to become part of their conversation (unless of course they need guidance or a little push). You want them to lead and keep their conversations going on their own.