Literature Circle Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Literature circles can be a great way to get students talking about books. With this lesson plan, teach your students about literature circles before they discuss and analyze self-selected books in small groups.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • read a text and answer literal-level questions about its content in a small group
  • identify and define unfamiliar vocabulary using a dictionary
  • identify an author's use of special language or descriptions within a text


  • 60 - 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.


Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.


Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.


  • Paper and pencils for students
  • Around ten different picture books of different reading levels on a variety of subjects
    • Students will be choosing their own books so if possible, have multiple copies of each title.
  • Ten dictionaries
  • Talking stick or tokens to manage discussion


  • To get students thinking about the idea of literature circles, ask some opening discussion questions.
    • Have you ever heard of something called a book club?
    • Do you know people that attend book clubs? What do they do in order to participate?
  • If students are unfamiliar with the concept, share with them that book clubs are ways that adults get together and talk about books that they read.
  • Explain to students that today, they will participate in something called a literature circle. This is very similar to the book clubs that many adults enjoy.
  • Put the groups of books around the classroom and show students the titles that they have to choose from. Explain that the first step of a literature circle is selecting and reading a book that you will then discuss with your group.
  • Divide the class into groups of four or five students and have the groups move about the classroom together to 'shop' for the book they want to read.
  • Walk around the classroom as the students make their decisions, helping with any conflicts or differences of opinion that may arise.

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