Gone are the days of the whole class novel study. My class read aloud takes all year, which I'm ok with as we are reading Wonder and I know the themes will be important for as long as we can read it together if not longer.
The first round of lit circles, we focussed on making connections. My diagnostic reading assessment showed students had a lack of higher order thinking skills when reading, especially when it came to making connections. In the end I taught the double entry journal. They had to make 4-6 connections per session, plus have a discussion and record themselves during every meeting.
The second round of lit circles my theme was historical fiction. They were to be working on writing with their history teacher and I thought it may help them to read fiction in a historical setting. They again had to have meetings but were to answer questions to help their discussion for every session.
The third round the theme is now "coming of age." I was inspired by this unit I found on Teachers Pay Teachers. I've never used this theme before, but figured it would be a challenge for them to justify that their choice of novel fits into the theme, what better way to focus on inferencing. Right now we have Matched, The Uglies, Divergent, Camp 30 (a sequel to Camp X that the group decided to read together) with a few other students still deciding. I wasn't sure if the challenge was going to be finding a group or a novel, but they have really impressed me so far!!
For a response, I will have them work for a period on making their own questions for the session using reciprocal teaching or any other questions that have been used this year. I will also add some poems that I hope fit into the theme so I can sit with small groups as we work on inferencing responses.
I'm really looking forward to this lit circle!