BETTER BOOK CLUBS!
Tips for organizing and managing Lit Circles, Book Clubs and other literary discussions
Book discussion groups – variously known as literature circles, book clubs or literate conversations – engage students in reading and talking about their reading. Their key advantage is independence: the students themselves decide what they’re going to read and what they’re going to talk about.
Of course, one problem is that many students – even in high school – don’t know how or what to say about reading. That’s where teacher modelling and guided practice come in. During read-alouds, teachers demonstrate their own reading processes and provide opportunities for students to reflect on and talk about the text and their comprehension strategies. It’s important for students to get plenty of instruction and guided practice before expecting them to discuss texts on their own.
LIVELY LIT CIRCLES START WITH...
Providing book sets from which students may select.
Empowering groups to set their own agendas for how much to read and what to discuss.
Making students responsible for independently reading and preparing for the discussion.
Allowing groups to guide their own conversations.
Introducing some sort of culminating activity or project.
RECOMMENDED FOR BOOK DISCUSSIONS
Possibly the most “literary” of all HIP novels, Avalanche is based on a true story of a school trip to the mountains. Offers much food for thought about point of view, decision dilemmas and character development. Download Chapter 7 FREE from the Avalanche web page, which describes the impending avalanche from four different points of view.
Death on the Sidewalk is a particularly well-crafted novel also based on a true story about an innocent teenager caught in the crossfire of a gang fight. This novel can springboard discussions about tough topics like urban violence.
HIP’s all-time bestseller, Ghost House tells a familiar tale of some boys who take a dare to spend the night in a house that’s reported to be haunted. Strong characterization and an ending that leaves the reader wondering make for great literary conversations.