Literature Circles Lesson Plan

I’m cleaning my website still, and archiving old things here on my blog. This lesson plan was co-written with our language arts consultant. It was an attempt to scale a literature circle project done between two of our middle schools.

Literature Circle Videoconferences


  • Talk to your partner teacher via phone or email and discuss the steps.
  • Decide how often to meet.
  • Discuss and plan for a culminating activity.

Step 1: Getting to Know You
Knowing the students in your partner class will help make the discussion more engaging. Use at least one of these strategies in the first videoconference to help the students get to know each other.

  • Create a grid with the students names and fill in topics such as favorite movie, favorite weekend activities, etc. Idea from Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles. p. 40
  • Or try some of ice-breakers for distance learning.

Step 2: Teach Discussion Skills & Set Ground Rules
Both classes should use the same set of skills and ground rules for a smoother discussion environment. Here are some resources for teaching discussion skills and setting ground rules. Discuss with your partner teacher which of these you’ll use in your respective classes.

  • Create a T-chart for friendliness and support in a discussion. What does it sound like and what does it look like?
  • See also Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles page 48 for discussion skills and page 115 for setting ground rules.
  • Teaching Students How to Discuss
  • Making Discussions Work
  • Literature Circle Qualities
  • Literature Circle Levels of Questioning

Step 3: Use Response Logs to Prepare for Discussion

Written responses will focus students on the reading and prepare them for the discussion. You can also take the opportunity to have students focus on comprehension strategies.

  • Written responses for literature circles.
  • Literature Circle Pre-Meeting
  • Super Six Comprehension Strategies by Lori Oczkus, 2004, for ideas to support predicting, inferring, questioning, monitoring, summarizing, and synthesizing.
  • Create a Comprehension Strategies Bookmark
  • Directions to Create a Strip Poem (suggestion: make it across the two classrooms)
  • Questions in Preparation for Literature Circle
  • Student Response Sheet
  • Synthesis Prompts
  • Writing Questions After You Read

Tips for the Videoconferences

  • Divide up the literature circle tasks/jobs across the two sites to ensure interaction.
  • Use a strategy to make sure all students contribute to the conversation. For example, you may give each student 5 slips of paper. Each time they talk, they put a slip on the table. This helps even out the conversation between the talkative students and the quieter students.
  • Have a culminating event to celebrate success. For example, students may create projects and share them with the partner class. Or the two classes may create a strip poem with lines created by both classes.


  • Literature Circle Portfolio

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