Online Literature Circles

What Makes a Genuine Literature Circle?

  • Self selected reading materials
  • Small temporary groups
  • Different books
  • Regular predictable schedule
  • Discussion topics come from students
  • Open, natural conversation
  • Task roles
  • Teacher as facilitator

Reading Strategy

  • Engagement-build connections, set purpose, and motivate
  • Exploration – read, observe, question
  • Explanation- react, discuss, answer questions, conclude, write
  • Elaboration- reflect, look for connections, reflect
  • Evaluation – summarize

Why is this Online Collab Project?

  • Research proven to help students become lifelong readers
  • Students are engaged in the reading task through this digital communication tool
  • Students authentically apply strategy into a setting
  • Builds on student’s prior knowledge of internet communication world
  • Reluctant writers take more risks and are engaged in the writing process.
    • Students that are shy and reticient write when they are online.

Reading Survey

  • What is your favorite book? What made it your favorite?
  • How do you choose books to read?
  • Who are some of your favorite authors? Why
  • What topics or subjects interest you?
  • What are the titles of some books you want to read?
Source: Guiding Readers and Writers by Fountas and Pinnell

How To Start

  • Teacher Responsibilities
    • Conduct a reading survey
    • Select books for students to preview
    • Create mixed ability groups
      • Experiment with all boys and girls
      • Change group membership after each book. This is important because

Teacher Pre-Circle Check List

  • Class divided into small groups of 5 per group
  • Books for each group
  • Chunks for reading meetings set
  • Model with a whole class book.


  • Discussion director – develops a list of questions for group discussion
  • Super summarizer

Marzano’s 9

  • 7 of the nine, except for generating and testing hypotheses and cues, questions, and advance organizers are addressed.


  • Self
  • Peer – rate each other

Book Talks

  • Using Journal in Moodle
    • Students post online book talks to persuade other group membes to choose their book for lit circle
    • Students vote on book selection
    • Students draw for 1st task role, then choose order of other roles.


  • At HS, students read “The Road”
    • Students felt anonymous until they had a chance to give their own opinion. The OLC enabled them to accomplish this by allowing them to voice their opinions.
    • Water for Elephants is the book they are currently working on at Brack HS-Flood.
  • Dual Language Class –
    • Students are self-motivated and they go about their business of OLC
    • Reading Tale of Despereaux
    • Students are posting
    • Most teachers are not concerned about spelling
    • Students are encouraged to edit each others work. Students are instructed to encourage other students in their editing/revision suggestions.
    • Non-linguistic representation: They like posting as an artful artist. Students draw their pictures and have to post them.
    • Students are understanding connections between themselves and the task roles. **Students are sharing with themselves.
    • Studnts are using survey (questionnaire)
      • I like lit circles
    • I like diff lit roles

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