Literature Circle Roles Summary

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will define the various student roles in a literature circle, including their purpose and responsibilities. After reading about these roles a teacher will be able to begin implementing them in the classroom.

Literature Circles

When Oprah's Book Club became a thing in 1996, literature circles experienced resurgence. Not only are adults engaging in book clubs, but teachers are using them to enhance the literary experiences of their students. Literature circles are small groups that read the same book and discuss it. They are a collaborative strategy which is student led but has built in structure. Topics of conversation may include personal connections to the story, character growth, or the author's writing style. When using literature circles with students, each participant should be assigned a task to improve engagement and make the most of the experience. Let's discuss some of the student roles in a literature circle.

Discussion Director

The discussion director leads the group by asking questions that improve comprehension. As this student reads the text, he/she is responsible for creating a list of questions for the group to discuss. This list is to include the W and H questions: who, what, when, where, why, how, and what if. The discussion director may ask the group to make predictions, summarize events, review cause and effect relationships, or discuss the author's purpose.

Word Wizard

The word wizard is in charge of explaining the meaning and pronunciations of difficult terms. As this student reads the passage, he/she is responsible for creating a list of unfamiliar words and defining them in context for the group. The vocabulary enricher will use dictionaries, internet sites, and other resources to investigate any unknown words.

Literary Luminary

The literary luminary selects and guides the group to orally read parts of passages that are particularly meaningful. The literary luminary may choose selections that use figurative language or are otherwise well-written. This student may also make choices because a particular section describes characters or unique events. The teacher may direct the literary luminary to look for specific literary devices that are used in book and can be brought to the attention of the other readers.

The Connector

The connector is in charge of finding connections between the reading material and the real world. These may be personal connections (text-to-self), connections between this story and another book (text-to-text), or a connection between the story and an event in current events or history (text-to-world). These connections help the members of the group become more engaged. In addition to providing his or her own connections, the connector may ask the group how this story reminds them of their life, another book, or a world event.

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