world stories.jpg
world stories.jpg

I. What is a literature circle?
Literature circles are small groups of students who gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students' response to what they have read. You may hear talk about events and characters in the book, the author's craft, or personal experiences related to the story. Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach. Students reshape and add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers. Finally, literature circles guide students to deeper understanding of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response (Noe and Johnson 1999). It may help you to think of a literature circle as a “mini” Socratic Seminar.


II. How will we use literature circles while reading short stories?
As we explore short stories you will be responsible for completing much of the reading at home on your own time. As an active reader, it is expected that you will be questioning and analyzing the work as you go, and the literature circles will provide an opportunity for you to discuss your questions and in-sights relating to the book.
For each assigned reading section, you will have a specific “job” that you are required to complete before meeting with your literature circle for a discussion. The purpose of assigning jobs is to insure that each member of your group is an active participant, and also to ensure that your group discussion will be worthwhile and meaningful. Because each job is so critical to the success of the entire group, you will be REQUIRED to submit your portion of the assignment to my wiki page by the night before the scheduled literature circle. If you fail to submit the required work, or your work does not meet expectations, you will NOT be allowed to participate in the literature circle and you will instead be required to complete an alternate assessment (i.e. a test) while the rest of your class is holding discussions. You will also still be required to submit your missing work.


III. What is the role of each student in the literature circle?
For each reading section/lit circle there five required roles. They are:
  1. Discussion Director & Summarizer
  2. Literary Illuminator & Investigator
  3. Style Seeker
  4. Cultural Connector
  5. Idea Illustrator

*Click each job title for a detailed description of the requirements for the role.

IV. How will I be assessed on my participation in the lit circle?
Your preparation for, and participation in, the literature circles will be a major assessment for the World Short Story Unit. For each literature circle you will be assessed on the quality of the written work you submit to the wiki page before the literature circle begins. Additionally, your participation in literature circle discussions will be assessed by your teachers, your peers, and by your completion of a self-assessment using the attached rubric.

If you are absent on the day of the lit circle you have two options. If you are able, you may participate in the discussion digitally by skyping/facetiming with your group. If you are unable to participate, you will be required to take a short essay quiz that covers the information your group submitted to Google docs. Either way, you are still responsible for preparing and submitting your part of the assignment to Google docs before class begins.

Also, if you are absent during a preparation day, you are still expected to submit your work and be prepared to participate in the lit circle the following day.

Lit Circle Group Member Evaluations


Student Work: Short Stories Digital Lit Circles

“The Night Face Up” Julio Cortazar


“Marriage is a Private Affair” Chinua Achebe




Adapted from Students Becoming Real Readers: Literature Circles in High School English Classes by Sandra Okura DaLie