Implementation considerations

Students begin literature circles by participating in mini-lessons on how to participate in a discussion group. To begin with they may be given role sheets to assist them in taking notes on their reading and preparing for the discussion.

Sticky notes are often distributed by teachers to assist students in recording their thoughts about text elements, as they make access easy to various pages in the book. Clip boards may assist children in using their role sheets when groups use floor space to conduct their discussions.

As group discussions evolve and improve, ideally the role sheets should eventually be used only for redirecting the discussion when students get off-track. In fact, Daniels notes that "the goal of role sheets is to make the role sheets obsolete" (Daniels, 1994, p. 75). What he means by this is that role sheets help students stay on task and focus their discussions. As students become more comfortable in their groups and learn the level of discourse and response that is expected of them, ideally they will no longer need the role sheets at all: "In many classrooms, the role sheets are abandoned as soon as groups are capable of lively, text-centered, multifaceted discussions" (Daniels, 1994, p. 75). Schlick Noe and Johnson note that role sheets take focus and energy away from group discussions: "Students can learn collaborative and individual accountability strategies to make their discussions work without the constraints of role sheets" (Schlick Noe and Johnson, 1999, cited from Literature Circles Resource Center) Most teachers starting out may, however, wish to assign roles to students to help them learn some of the structures of Literature Circles and to aid in classroom management.