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Literature Circles 
   Literature circles are a fantastic way to get students involved in books.  It all starts with students choosing a book out of five or six that are all related to one another.  Have a book talk to introduce the books, and students sign up to read one of them.  All the students who choose a particular book will meet in a group and discuss their book.  But, before they do, they either read independently the book at home or school, then everyone in the group comes back together to discuss the book. Students will discuss in "grand conversations," which are just open-ended discussion.  They are to share observations and reflections about chapters they have read, make predictions, and ask clarifying questions.  The discussion will eventually move to deeper story meanings.  The teacher sits in on these grand conversations and listens sometimes, and sometimes the teacher can offer a comment. 
    The students can also self-assess themselves using the scoring rubric below.

Some Literature Circle Discussion Starters

Excuse me....
I'd like to add.....
I disagree...
I agree because...
I don't understand what you mean....
I'm confused about......

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