Have you ever thought about using Literature Circles with your students? I will be creating questions to accompany each chapter of many award winning books. Literature Circles have never be EZ-er.
Reading award winning books provides students with a "cultural" experience that they will share with others throughout their lives. When we grew up many of us read the same literature. These books had been recommended for students at a certain grade level. Do you remember reading, "To Kill a Mockingbird"? I was so moved by that book that the memory is tangible even today, 40 years later. Unfortunately, this generation does not discuss books, because they don't consider reading textbooks as reading real books. It is unlikely that we would remember reading books by H.G. Wells or Hemingway if their works had been presented in a simplified version in a basil reader. Students want to read real books by real authors. They don't want it simplified and they don't want to be beat to death with vocabulary lessons and comprehension questions. Students today are just as interested in authentic fiction and nonfiction as we were. Literature Circles offer us the opportunity to expand their reading across all genres and provide them with rich reading experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime.
I suggest starting with a whole class Literature Circle book to teach the format and to help students understand your expectations. Check with your Media Center to see which books they have multiple copies of or check with other teachers to see who might have class sets of books. I always started with "Sarah Plain and Tall". Students were required to read about 10 pages nightly and be able to discuss the text and answer some questions. Interesting or unknown vocabulary words were added to each student's Vocabulary Composition book nightly.
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