Literature circles have been a staple in elementary classrooms forever, and they are a great way to introduce your world language students to a more independent way of reading novels in class. You can do literature circles at any level, but personally I find they work best in level 3 or 4, or in level 2 if you have students that are able to work well and read independently.
Several sets of 4-6 novels each, at a variety of levels but not too far out of the reach of any student in the class. It is totally ok to have some “easy” reads in the mix.
I have made up a packet for my Spanish classes with descriptions of each job, a project checklist, rubric, cover sheet for each group, and job sheet for each individual job. If you want to make your own, there are lots of other examples online!
I like to start by giving a little “book talk” about each title (I am also a certified school media specialist, so I love incorporating tons of books and reading into my Spanish classes!). You can talk in English or in your target language, as long as it is comprehensible to students! Spend just 30 seconds or a minute on each title! This is just a quick little commercial!
Next, I invite every student to look through the titles and select the title they would like to read.
After all students have chosen a title, the kids with the same books become a group.
For each chapter, students must select a job, and they must equally share all of the jobs throughout the book. (There MUST be a discussion director for each chapter!) Allow the students themselves to manage the process of delegating jobs. I allow groups to decide if they like working together to read or if they prefer to read independently. I give time throughout the week for reading, and there are deadlines weekly for completing chapters and for having literature circle work completed. For each chapter, they must complete their job, participate in a group discussion which the group videotapes (Each teacher will have different ways of managing this process. Audio taping in another option, but I prefer video!), and then put all of their work together into a packet with a cover sheet.
Let the students know that you reserve the right to grade any or all of their work! But the trick is, you are not going to grade ALL of it. You can either tell the groups that you want “chapter 8” from every group, or you might tell each group to select what they think was their group’s BEST work and submit that.
I have several jobs that students must take turns with throughout the project.
- El dueño del resumen
- El viajero
- Enriquecedor del vocabulario
- Director de la discusión
- Conector al mundo
For more ideas, just search online for “Literature circles.” Elementary teachers have tons of ideas that we can also use in secondary world language classes!