Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Starting a Literature Circle

There is something especially exciting and enriching about discussing literature in a group setting. Homeschooling families tend to devour books at home, but we don’t always discuss them chapter by chapter. We often assess our students’ comprehension with a few questions or some chatting about the book. Analyzing books to death often takes the pleasure out of reading.

For the past couple of years I’ve been teaching a literature circle class at our co-op. I perhaps shouldn’t call our class a “literature circle” because it doesn’t fall into the typical literature circle format of student led/teacher observer. (This page gives a good overview of a typical literature circle.) For various reasons—including physical space, time, and meeting limitations—I tweaked the concept so that we basically have a discussion-based class, teacher-facilitated, but with lots of projects and student input.

My main goal was simply to introduce middle-school kids to discussing literature in preparation for high school and college. The literature circle is a perfect forum for practicing analysis and interpretation, cleverly disguised as a really fun time with friends. That’s a key, by the way: …… {Come on over to The Homeschool Classroom to read the rest of Part 1 of my article on literature circles, and check back tomorrow for Part 2!)

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