Literature Circle Roles Read Write Think Essay - Essay for you

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Literature Circle Roles Read Write Think Essay

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How to write an English Literature Essay

Undergraduate Studies How to write an English Literature Essay The complete guide to writing a 2:1 standard university essay

What if you had to mark your own essay? What if you were tired and had read fifty essays already that day? At the heart of writing a good English Literature essay is readability.

  • Avoid writing an essay that is a regurgitation of facts, lecture notes or other people’s opinions.
  • If you wouldn’t want to read your essay, you can be sure that no one else will.

The second important point to bear in mind when writing your English Literature essay is planning. Don’t start writing without a goal or an idea of the key points to cover:

  • Write key points and ideas down before you start.
  • Plan your paragraphs.
  • Look at the whole picture before you begin.
  • What is your argument?
  • Who is your reader?
  • When should you aim to have the first 300 words written by?

These are all practical questions and suggestions that will not only help you write a good essay, but also keep you from drowning in a sea of words and ideas. Of course, it doesn’t matter if you want to change direction or modify your argument once you have begun, but it’s helpful to start out with an idea of where you’re going.

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  • A basic but important point is the size of your paragraphs. If you have re-read a paragraph and gotten lost on the way then it is probably time to consider dividing it into two paragraphs.
  • Paragraphs are there to help you and your reader: they divide up your thoughts and neatly section each strand of your argument into readable nuggets.
  • You should neverhave a paragraph that is longer than an A4 page.
  • Make sure that the transition between your paragraphs and sentences makes sense. One thought should seamlessly follow on from another in your English Literature essay.
  • Helpful ‘connective’ words and phrases are: ‘in addition to this’, ‘despite of this,’ ‘however’, ‘on the other hand’.
  • Unless you have been asked to summarize a piece of text, every English Literature essay you write should have a clear argument.
  • Remember, your argument should not be a one-sided rant; it should include several possible sides of the discussion. A great English Literature essay is a lively and thought provoking conversation with the text/s at hand.

Bear in mind that an English Literature essay should show your love of words and language. Remember to look out for and make interesting points about literary uses of sibilance, onomatopoeia, anaphora, alliteration etc. This is especially relevant, but not exclusive to, writing about poetry.

  • Make sure you credit any critics and texts that you quote and source material that you use in your footnotes and bibliography.
  • Even if you are only quoting one text throughout your essay it is good form to reference the page numbers of the text you are using so that your reader can look up quotes that you have used. Make sure you properly notate in your footnotes the publisher and the edition of the text you are using.
  • Where possible draw on your knowledge of other texts and make thoughtful and relevant comparisons.
  • Wherever possible use short, sharp, punchy quotations, either a word or part of a sentence.

You must at all times ensure that quotes are woven into the body of your English Literature essay.

E.g. When King Lear appears at the end of the play, carrying Cordelia’s body, he can only ‘howl’ with grief at the ‘men of stone’ whom he is confronted by.

  • Each quote that you use from any kind of text (reference, criticism or source material) should be properly footnoted so that you don’t:

a) Get accused of plagiarism b) Confuse your reader

  • Where you feel that it is necessary to quote larger chunks of text to illustrate your point you should make sure to do the following:
  • Set your quotation in the centre of the printed page and leave a blank line before and after the complete quotation.
  • Don’t just use the quotation in the hope that it will speak for itself: pick out interesting words/sentences from long quotations and write about how they emphasize the point that you are making.
  • For longer quotations you can also use a single ‘comma’ quotation marks, although it is also acceptable to use the “double comma quotation marks.”
Other english literature sections: More how to write guides:

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Literature Circle Models

Literature Circle Models

After experimenting for many years, I discovered an approach that's easy, fun, and effective. I refer to it as Classroom Book Clubs because it's a more relaxed method of doing Literature Circles that doesn't involve roles. You can view a narrated slidecast to this model by scrolling down to the Classroom Book Clubs section.

On this page you can also learn about different types of Literature Circles. I've had some success with all the models below, but all models haven't been successful with all groups of students. Read through the various descriptions and find something that feels right to you. Each description has a link to the part of the page that describes how to do a specific type of Literature Circles.

Ways to Structure Literature Circles
  • Classroom Book Clubs - My favorite method at the moment is a flexible approach to Literature Circles that does not require the use of extensive handouts and assignment booklets. I call it Classroom Book Clubs because it's a more relaxed approach to literature circles. I have found it to be very effective for promoting the joy of reading and helping kids connect through literature.
  • Mini Literature Circles - Want a quick and easy introduction to Literature Circles? This method can be used with the leveled readers that come with many reading series.
  • Literature Circles with Roles - I personally don't recommend this model, but I've left information about it on this page because many people have heard of it. I have not found it to be particularly effective with all types of learners. Read Harvey Daniel's book Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in the Student Centered Classroom to learn about this model. You can find a simple version listed below on this page, but if the model appeals to you, you would enjoy Harvey Daniel's book. Be aware that Harvey Daniels himself no longer advocates this extensive use of this model, but there are many other wonderful ideas in the book.
  • Nonfiction Literature Circles - My newest addition to this collection of Literature Circle strategies is Nonfiction Literature Circles. Adding nonfiction has been the missing piece of the reading puzzle for me!
  • Literary Lunch Bunches - Literary Lunch Bunches are fun, informal Literature Circles that kids attend on a voluntary basis. The program is called Literary Lunch Bunch because you hold the meetings during lunch, in your classroom or another quiet area (such as outside at a picnic table).
Classroom Book Clubs Overview

Watch this short video to how Classroom Book Clubs work!

I've spent 15 years experimenting with Literature Circles in my classroom, and I finally found an approach that students enjoy, an approach that's free of cumbersome management systems. I'd love to tell you how it works! Click the video below and I'll share the 7 steps to Classroom Book Clubs success! To find out what others think, read what teachers are saying about this resource.

Mini Literature Circles (Using Leveled Readers)

Are you required to use a basal reading program in your classroom? Many programs have leveled readers that can be used as a way of introducing Literature Circles. Leveled readers are thin paperback stories or nonfiction selections, and they are written on a variety of reading levels. A Mini Literature Circle can be done in one or two days depending on the time allowed. Here's how:

  1. Assign 3 or 4 students to a leveled reader based on their reading level. Alternatively, allow students to browse through the selection and choose the group they want to join. If you have 6 or 7 copies of each book, split the group in half for the Literature Circle discussion since the groups seem to work best with 3 or 4 students.
  2. Give class time for students to read the leveled reader alone, with a partner, or with audio support.
  3. Then provide a Journal Prompt such as the ones described in the section above.
  4. Allow class time for students to write a response, and then form discussion groups.
  5. Print out the Mini Literature Circle directions, and give to one person in each group who will serve as the discussion leader. Each person will need 2 popsicle sticks or craft sticks for the Talking Sticks discussion method used in this activity.
  6. As the students meet to discuss the book, circulate through the room to observe their discussions and interactions.

Literature Circles with Roles

Some students enjoy having roles within their Literature Circles. These roles rotate for each meeting. One way to use roles is to use the Literature Circles Preparation Form. Give students a copy of the Literature Circle Role Descriptions. Make one Role Finder Dial per team. Assign each person on the team one role and have them prepare their assignment as described. On the day of the meeting, all students complete their worksheet during the meeting itself. For the next meeting, turn the dial one place to see the new role assignments. Students keep rotating roles until they finish their book. You might want to be aware that many teachers are moving away from Literature Circles with roles to less structured approaches. Sometimes the use of roles prevents deeper discussion of the book.

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Lit Circle TTC


English 098 - Prof. Reynolds

Introduction :� In order to understand and absorb the novel more thoroughly, the class will break into three "literature circles" modeled after the very popular book groups that have sprung up across the country in the last few years.� For each session of the circle, each person will take a different role in the group in order to facilitate a complete and lively discussion of the book.�� When the book is finished, each circle will produce a group presentation for the class (guidelines to follow), which will summarize and highlight what the circle felt was important about the book.� Finally, each student will write his or her own essay about the book.

Develops a list of questions

Locates a few special sections of the text to read aloud.

Provides a sketch, cartoon, diagram, flow chart, collage or other visual image

Finds connections between the book and the world outside.

Prepares a brief summary of the reading.

Digs up background information on any topic related to the book.

"The Things They Carried," "Love," "Spin,"
"On the Rainy River"

"The Man I Killed," "Ambush," "Style"

"Enemies," "Friends," "How to Tell a True War Story"

"Speaking of Courage," "Notes," "In the Field," "Good Form," "Field Trip"

"The Dentist," "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong," "Stockings," "Church"

"The Ghost Soldiers," "Night Life," "The Lives of the Dead"

Adapted from Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in the Student Centered Classroom

by Harvey Daniels. York, MA: Stenhouse Publishers, 1994

quoted in Teaching Developmental College Reading: A New Instructor's Handbook

by Suzanne H. Watts, CSU Fullerton, 1999

1. Discussion Director

Assigned Reading: _________________________

Discussion Director. Your job is two-fold; first, to determine the order of the various roles, and second, to develop a list of questions that your group might want to discuss about this part of the book. Don't worry about the small details; your task is to help your group talk over the big ideas in the reading and share their reactions. Usually the best discussion questions come from your own thoughts, feelings, and concerns as you read, which you can list below, during or after your own reading of the assigned text. Or you may use some of the general questions below to develop topics for your group.

Possible discussion questions or topics for today:

What was going through your mind while you read this?

How did you feel while reading this part of the book?

What was discussed in this section of the book?

Did today's reading remind you of any real-life experiences?

What questions did you have when you finished this section?

Did anything in this section of the book surprise you?

What are the one or two most important ideas?

Predict some things you think will happen next.

Topic or discussion thread to be carried to next meeting :_______________________________________________________________

Lit Circle Roles

Assigned Reading: _________________________

Highlighter: Your job is to locate a few special sections of the text that your group would like to hear read aloud. The idea is to help people remember some interesting, powerful, funny, puzzling, or important sections of the text. You decide which passages or paragraphs are worth hearing, and then plan how they should be shared. You can read passages aloud yourself, ask someone else to read them, have people read them silently and then discuss, or read portions of dialog as if �you were reading a play.

Location / Selection Title

Reason for Picking

Plan for Presentation

Literature Circle Roles Reframed: Reading as a Film Crew

Literature Circle Roles Reframed: Reading as a Film Crew

Students interact with a range of different kinds of texts in the classroom, but for many, films and movies are the favorite. Because of their interest in the films, projects related to these movie texts often result in a higher level of engagement. Capture this enthusiasm, and transfer it to reading and literature by substituting film production roles for the traditional literature circle roles. After reviewing film production roles�such as director, casting director, and set designer�students work together in cooperative groups to read and discuss a piece of literature, each assuming a film production role.


Self-Reflection: Taking Part in a Group . Students use this sheet to evaluate how well they interact in a group activity, including their role in the group, completion of task, listening, and more.

Roles of a Film Crew . This printable sheet offers definitions of 11 major roles on a film crew. The sheet can be used for a variety of lessons in which students participate in or explore filmmaking.


Can students' genuine enthusiasm for film and movies extend into the classroom and literacy activities? John Golden, in Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom. thinks so. He writes, "[W]e know, or strongly suspect, that the skills [students] use to decode the visual image are the same skills they use for a written text, and our goal, therefore, is to use that immediate interest in and uncanny ability with film and make it work for us" (xiii).

This lesson plan invites students to think like filmmakers while reading a text, which in turn, makes the connection Golden refers to.

Overview of Literature Circles

The Literature Circles Resource Center web site is based on the premise that there is no one way to do literature circles . Literature circles look different in every classroom; they change from teacher to teacher, grade to grade, student to student. Literature circles have no recipe, they are not a specific "program", and they never look the same from year to year -- or even from day to day. The reason? True engagement with literature within a community of learners can't possibly be prescribed -- it can only be described. And that's the goal of this web site.

The following links explain how we define literature circles on this web site, describe the role that literature circles play in a comprehensive and balanced literacy program, and illustrate some of the changes that you might expect to see as you work with literature circles in your classroom.

Role in a
Comprehensive Literacy Program

In literature circles, small groups of students gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students' response to what they have read. You may hear talk about events and characters in the book, the author's craft, or personal experiences related to the story. Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach. Students reshape and add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers. Finally, literature circles guide students to deeper understanding of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response.

Perhaps the easiest way to understand what literature circles are is to examine what they are not.

Literature Circles are.

Literature Circles are not.

Reader response centered