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Journal > The Reading Teacher

"Help! What Is Wrong With These Literature Circles and How Can We Fix Them?"

by Lane Clarke and Jennifer Holwadel

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"Help! What Is Wrong With These Literature Circles and How Can We Fix Them?"

Grades 6 – 12
Type Journal
Published September 2007
Publisher International Literacy Association



This articles details what happened when, after endless hours of teaching and explaining how literature circles work, the authors were dismayed at how their students still struggled to have positive social interactions during book discussions. Book discussions often deteriorated into tension filled discussions marred by class inequities, bullying, name-calling, kicking, and threats. The authors closely examined the context of this classroom and came up with some solutions to improve literature circles for their students.

This article identifies some issues that worked against book groups (such as student and structural barriers) and suggests some possible changes (minilessons, watching videos, choosing good books, coaching students) to assist others who also need help figuring out what is wrong with their literature circle discussions and what to do to improve them.

Clarke, L.W., & Holwadel, J. (2007, September). "Help! What Is Wrong With These Literature Circles and How Can We Fix Them?". The Reading Teacher, 61(1), 2029. doi: 10.1598/RT.61.1.3


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