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Guided Reading vs Literature Circles


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Guided Reading vs Literature Circles
Old 10-16-2007, 01:52 AM

Taking the Reading workshop approach hasn't been easy or simple. I've been at it for years. I've noticed that practices vary from school to school in my district.

I've had the impression that Guided reading taught skills and reinforced comprehension strategies. I also thought Literature Cirlces focused on development to higher order thinking and reflection. I switched schools and was told that only at or above grade level children should do Literature Circles. I had a reading program that allowed all children access to both guided and literature circles. I believe that readers at all levels need both. Choice, one of the hallmarks of lit. circles, is very important to stoke students' interest and desire to read. I believe that upper level readers model important skills in reading and comprehension that students at lower levels would emulate if given the chance to see them in action instead of the constant teacher model.

As we all know, kids rather emulate each other in the tween/ preteeen years. Guided groups smack of tracking, and I can't shake the notion that some of my kids feel different because they know exactly where they are in relation to every other kid. The kids know what group is where. Calling it Differentiation may soothe some ruffled feathers, but it is just tracking in all subjects rather than by the child's weakest subject as old school tracking did. Sure the groups are "flexible" but come on, we all know there are kids that stay in the same grouping all year. None of us can explain it away. Flying kids, ontrack kids ,and runnning as fast as they can kids don't grow and change fast enough in reading to call the groups anything but leveled.
I'm planning Lit circles 2 days a week for the kids. I do given them some choice and I never put a kid who is struggleing in a book too far over their heads. I believe a little above in a book they have expressed interest in, is better than a at level book that is "forced". I know both are important to developing goood readers. Why oh why do I doubt my self?
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Lesson Plan Format....
Old 10-17-2007, 01:32 AM

Would love to see how you develop and implement literature circles as well as guided reading groups - 2 separate books? Thanks!
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me too
Old 10-17-2007, 03:29 AM

I would also love to see how you implement both g. reading and lit. circles. I take it you don't have a basal, too. (Wish we didn't)
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Plans to balance Lit circles & Guided groups
Old 10-17-2007, 03:05 PM

My basic plan for weekly reading looks like this.
Guided Reading: M,W,F
Literature Circles: Tu,TH

On Guided reading Days

15 min whole group mini-lessons on reading skills and strategies.

I have 5 groups ,so I don't meet with at/ above grade level groups every day.

1. First 20 min: Meet with my learning plan group( below grade level). Go over mini lesson skill, model skill again with their text. Watch them apply the skill. Send them to work in pairs to complete the given assigment. All other groups are working independently on: pervious assignment (especially if I gave the group a multi day assignment.), silent reading, or Literacy take to seat center.

2. Second 20 min: Meet with a grade level group. Check on their application of mini-lesson skill. Get responses to the previous assignment. Give another assignment. Send them back to work in pairs or alone. All other groups are working on the activities I listed previously.

3. Third 20 mins: Meet with one more at or above level group. See above for activities. Others are working on independent activities listed in first 20 mins.

4. 15 mins: Check on indviduals from above grade level groups not meeting.

5. 20 mins read a loud for 15 mins. 5 min reflection in notebook on reading. ( not always a part of reading /literacy block)

Lit Circle Days: I allow the kids to choose from 4 books. I ensure that the books allow all students a chance to read something close to their level.(no more that + or - 1 level from their guided reading level) My kids are reading R, S, T, U levels (fountas and panell)

TU : All groups get assigned their chapters and I check to be sure all members know their jobs and have materials. Students may read alone, pairs or shared.. With help from stronger readers, kids in a book one step up will do pretty well in most cases.They have until Thursday to read the assigned passages and complete their jobs.

TH: All groups meet for about 15- 20 minutes. Sharing the work they completed( reporting on their "job"). I'm listening in and noting participation , trouble shooting or even sharing as well. Then I have them fill out a self reflection of the group meeting. These are folded and handed to me with names on them.I then do a read a loud for 20 minutes.

Yes, each lit circle and guided group has their own novel. So each kid is reading 2 books. Make it easy on yourself and us novels you already know and love and slowly introduce new books. Also keep in mind my students are in grade five and have been using these programs since grade 3.

Good Luck to both of you and please feel free to ask additional questions.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:05 PM

I enjoyed reading your entry musicbug. I completely agree.

I'm about to start an author's study on Roald Dahl in which I will feature five of his books within literature circles. I allowed my students to choose their top 3 and then placed them in the different groups. I also made sure that one of my lower achieving students wasn't involved with say, Matilda, but also didn't "force" him into another group. I'm so glad you mentioned that, it really makes sense!

I plan on having mine meet with their book clubs on Mondays and Fridays. Mondays will be the day in which they assign chapter readings and individual jobs for the week. On Fridays they will come together and share, discuss, etc. as well as complete any other assessments required by me.

We will use the basal series as a supplement, especially when meeting with guided reading groups on T, W, TH...those are also the days that my students are involved with work stations while I meet with a particular group of students to reinforce skills/strategies.

How long do you normally allow for students to meet on Tuesdays in order to assign the chapters, read, etc.? Just curious because I haven't really given it much thought since I've been planning all of the other things that go along with an author's study!

Also, do you have any files saved on your computer that you incorporate with lit. circles? Would you be willing to share these? I noticed you mentioned a this! Feel free to private message me or email me anything in regards to lit. circles. I'm going through the National Board process and any help you could give would be greatly appreciated!

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for 1st?
Old 12-06-2008, 05:02 AM

How does this work for 1st grade? I loved your idea about TH & F reserved for Literacy Cirlces. I have just learned about this format.
For GR - I have 1/3 who are below grade level, reading at a 1.2 with difficulty still, and 1/3 who are reading well at a 2.9 - I have just split the top group into 2 groups, and maybe I'm too old fashioned, but am nervous about not 'listening' to them read - especially for comprehension, which at this low level, I can tell if they are just 'reading the words' or truly understanding, especially at the higher level books. I have never used GR like this: only doing the top 2 groups once every other day in 1st grade.
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