Copyright

Literature Circle Rules for Students

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Literature circle participation can be an invaluable experience for students, but it also requires oversight and guidance. The rules in this lesson will help your students get as much as possible out of literature circles.

Why Literature Circles Need Rules

If you have your students involved in literature circles, then you know that they provide an excellent opportunity for students to practice their social and conversational skills while engaging in deep, meaningful discussions about text. At the same time, literature circles can be challenging; they require cooperation and alertness from all parties involved. As a teacher, one of your jobs is to help your students understand the central rules for engaging properly in literary discussion with others.

This lesson offers a series of rules that will help literature circles run smoothly in your class. You might also consider involving your students in designing rules that make sense to them and are specific to the needs of your class. There are intentionally few rules offered here, because students tend to respond better to a small number of well articulated, lucid rules than to a tremendous array of very specific ones. Following each rule, you will find a brief explanation as to what it means and why it is so important.

Rules for Literature Circles

Come prepared for participation.

This is probably the single most important rule. Students cannot participate in literature circles if they have not done the day's reading assignment. Being prepared means doing the reading, coming to class with a book and notebook, and completing any specific tasks or assignments, such as journal reflections, question lists, or summarizing.

Listen actively to your classmates.

To help your students understand this rule, you might need to spend some time explaining active listening. When students participate in literature circles, they should make eye contact, remain quiet when a classmate is talking, and respond directly to the comments of others in their own comments. They should use body language that demonstrates their listening, and when they disagree, they should do so respectfully. Help your students understand that listening actively also means remaining aware of how much discussion airtime they are taking up and allowing others time and space for participation.

Take ownership of your ideas.

All students should take responsibility for participating in literature circle discussions and in articulating their own ideas. You might choose to have a minimum number of comments each student must make during every meeting, or you can leave this rule more open-ended and trust that all students will take up a fair amount of airtime during their conversation. This rule is especially important for students who tend to sit quietly and let others do the heavy lifting in terms of engaging with the ideas or assignments.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support