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Holes Literature Circle Activities

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

The book Holes by Louis Sachar is a popular one that many teachers assign. You might consider implementing literature circles as students read this book. Use these focused activity ideas as your students work through this quirky mystery.

How to Use Literature Circles

A literature circle is a group of around four to five students who are reading the same book. As they read through the book, they will meet to discuss the book and complete several activities that will help them understand and evaluate the text. Students read assigned chapters, and then get in groups to work together.

This collection of activities is arranged so that students can work through them as they read. You might consider having students keep a notebook so they can keep their notes organized and use it with the literature circle activities. You can assign your own literature circle roles and adapt the ideas to fit your literature circle needs.

Before Reading

Before reading have students preview the book by looking at the cover and reading the back cover. In their notebooks, students write what they think the book might be about and their initial thoughts. Is 'Holes' going to be a mystery, an adventure book, or a love story? Have students write down their predictions and discuss those predictions with those in their literature circle.

Chapters 1-10

The literature circle activity for chapters one through ten will focus on visualizing. As students read the first ten chapters, have them draw the different settings of the book. They should draw Camp Green Lake and Stanley's apartment. In their notebooks, students should also write words or passages from the book that describe the settings. When students get together, have them compare and contrast their pictures and notes. Were there any differences in how they visualized the setting? What words or passages influenced the way they drew the setting?

Chapters 11-20

As student move further into the story use this discussion activity after reading chapters 11 through 20. Give each student five pennies. Explain that this means they only get to make five comments during this discussion of the book. Each time they talk in their group, they put one penny in the middle of the circle. They must choose to use their pennies wisely, forcing them to really decide if their comment is worth using up a penny. Have students discuss the following questions:

  • Why do you think X-Ray is the leader even though he's the smallest?
  • What kind of leader is Mr. Pendanski?
  • Why do you think the boys are digging these holes? What clues have you read?

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