Friday, November 18, 2011

Can 11 year old's handle book clubs?

When I was teaching 3rd grade, a colleague shared the Harvey Daniels "Literature Circles:  Voice and Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Groups."   If I had personally attempted this in my first few years of teaching, it would have probably crashed and burned...but, in that third grade classroom, I saw students come alive and begin to take ownership in their reading.  They handled the responsiblity well and knew that other students were relying on them and they LOVED that!  When I started teaching at the middle school level, I noticed that middle schoolers felt like they were really doing something special....getting to meet with each other and TALK about the book. 

The trick to them mastering book clubs and me not pulling my hair out is teaching them each job in isolation and then taking the time to teach them how to talk to one another.  I've posted the job sheet I've created for them.  The entire class is assigned one job for the first night (ex: Paint a Backdrop) and when they come to class the next day, they share their work with their group.  I model it for them and then teach them the next job.  What we end up with, after a painfully slow beginning, are book clubs that are stretching the kids to really examine what they read and talk to one another academically.  Sometimes I let them chose the book for their club, other times it is assigned, but either way, it works!

How to lead a Book Club

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