I’m a tremendous fan of literature circles. I used them frequently in my own classroom and enjoy learning more about the varied ways to maximize their potential. Many of the teachers that I’ve been working with this year have begun launching literature circles in their own classrooms, and witnessing the energy¬†that builds in response to their efforts is pretty inspiring. Great things can happen when kids are invited to talk with one another about what they are reading.

Planning for literature circles can be as overwhelming as it is exciting though, particularly for those who might classify themselves as more traditional teachers. There are a number of things to consider in anticipation of this work, and over the next few days, I’ll be sharing ideas, resources, and suggestions that address the following points of concern:

  • Setting goals and teaching with essential questions
  • Engaging all students and building community
  • Defining the role of the teacher
  • Considering instruction: content, skills, behaviors
  • Assessment
  • Intervening around identified needs
  • Reflective Practice

I’m hoping others will chime in as well. I know that many of my colleagues have tremendous experience using literature circles themselves, and I’m eager to learn more as well. Many of my favorite resources are housed in this wikispace. What would you recommend that I add?

This post was the first in a series on literature circles. Find posts 2-6 here:

2. Circling Around Essential Questions

3. Engaging All Students in Literature Circles

4. Coaching Effective Literature Circle Behaviors: A Guest Post by Linda Clinton

5. Approaching Assessment

6. Widening Your Literature Circles on the Web



  1. This sounds like exciting work. I have seen bits and pieces on literature circles, but I would like to know more about it. I hope that more is posted regarding some of the work that you see going on. Besides the resources on your wikispace, I would be interested in tapping into other resources on this topic. Is there a book that would be considered the pinnacle of information on Lit. Circles.

    • There are many great resources out there Joe, but I think Harvey Daniels’ work is most often referenced and highly respected. This one is a good pick as well. I will be sure to include some book suggestions in later posts too. Looking forward to seeing what Depew folks do with lit circles. Several teachers from Alden and out Theresa Gray’s way are using as well.

  2. I am very new at this whole lit circles idea, so I am very eager to hear from teachers who have implemented this in the classroom already. I look forward to exploring the many resources that are out there.

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