Literature Circles

By Mandy Bladzik


• “Literature circles are student led book groups or clubs.” (Cameron, Murray, Hall & Cameron, 2012).

• “Many educators saw the need to move away from traditional teacher centered instruction in favor of creating more student centered opportunities for learning in their classrooms.” (Clarke & Holwadel, 2007, p. 21)

• Literature circles must be structured to support student engagement and investment in order for thoughtful discussion about books to occur (Mills & Jennings, 2011).

• Teacher modeling of discussion techniques can help the students to observe the effective dialogue before providing opportunities for students to apply it to their own literature circle (Mills & Jennings, 2011).

• The students’ thoughts and questions drive the conversations during literature circles, rather than the teacher’s inquiries (Brabham & Villaume, 2000).

Implementation Plan

• Choose a book at the kids’ reading level

• Teach and model chosen literature circles roles with the kids

• Create group norms with the kids

• Set meeting and reading schedule

Literature Circle Role Card Resources

The following link includes role cards for many grade levels:

The following link is another set of role cards:

Scan the QR code for an example of literature circle role cards.

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Want to See Literature Circles in Action?

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Brabham, E. G. & Villaume, S.K. (2000). Continuing Conversations About Literature Circles. The Reading Teacher, 54(3), 278-280.

Candler, L. (n.d). Literature Circles. Retrieved from:

Clarke, L & Holwadel, J. (2007). Help! What Is Wrong with These Literature Circles and How Can We Fix Them? The Reading Teacher, 61(1), 20-29.

Mills, H. & Jennings, L. (2011). Talking About Talk: Reclaiming the Value and Power of Literature Circles. The Reading Teacher, 64(8), 590-598.

Temple, C., Ogle, D., Crawford, A, & Freppon, P. (2013). All children read: Teaching for literacy in today’s diverse classrooms. (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.