Círculos de la literatura

lit circLiterature 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.

Materials needed:

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
  • Artista
  • 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!




  1. Looking to do lit circles in class with my 7th graders. Since this is there first novel, I want them to read in class. Would you recommend having them read in class and finish with an activity? Do you think these rolls lendcthemselves well to 7th graders in their forst year in Spanish?

  2. I am currently using your lit circles in class. When the students are finished with the book, I have them working on the project of a book club discussion. Can you give me some ideas of what you have had students do at the end of the book? Looking for ideas and explanation. Thank you

  3. This is awesome! I am going to try this with my 4s. I bought this on TpT. What photocopies do you give them? Do you have them do the jobs for each chapter? So do you make lots of copies for each chapter? I am thinking of having them do the jobs for each chapter so I will make lots of copies so that they have a sheet for each chapter.

    1. Hi Dustin!
      I make lots of copies for each chapter. I keep them in folders and students access as they need them. I also added a Google Slides Literature Circles option so they can do the whole thing electronically and paperless! When using paper, I have each group turn their work in all together. Lots of papers but at least it is all grouped.

  4. I love this! I’ve done literature circles with my language arts classes for years, but am now teaching Spanish. What does the viajero do? I wasn’t familiar with that job.

  5. Kristy — I think my first kind of length post didn’t make it. ;( If this is a duplicate, please reject.

    I am very interested in this, but I teach once/week for 90 minutes, and those minutes are precious for CI — for everything. I teach homeschoolers, middle school through Span 4. Largest class is 12, and I have to purchase all resources.

    I also must have daily work for them to do at home, and am always searching for ways to get CI into them at home, and have them interact with the language (I teach French as well), as well as have something to grade (parents must *see* some applied work and I have to have some system of accountability).

    Would this work to have them read at home (as best they can), and then have maybe 15 minutes of our precious 90 to work in a group? If they are trying to communicate in Spanish (no problem for my Spanish 4’s — all 3 of them) — there would be errors, etc.

    Thanks for any input.

    1. Definitely have them read at home and prepare their materials at home and then do their short lit circle discussion as part of the 90 min. You could even limit discussion to every 2-3 chapters or have them prepare to discuss but never know which chapters you will require the discussion! If they have tech access perhaps they could even discuss from home using Google hangouts or something! Let me know how it goes! To me the discussions are only an assessment tool. The reading is the important part. Lit circles just bring a little novelty into the reading process!

  6. Hi Kristy, what a wonderful idea! I am always looking for ways to spice up the reading process for my students. Unfortunately, I don’t teach Spanish. I am wondering if your packet on TpT would be useful even for a non-Spanish speaker (or is it all in Spanish?). Before I buy it, I would like to know if I can actually use it 😉.
    Thank you!!!!

    1. The only Spanish really is the titles of the jobs. I think it would work for you. If not, let me know and I can email you the word doc and you can edit! 🙂

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