For the past few years, the English department has been funded by Excellence in Education to add a variety of free reading books to their class libraries. These additions to our libraries have led to an increase in the number of books students are reading each year. These books have also lead to students talking to each other about the books they are reading and are making recommendations to their classmates. To continue with the increase of students reading and talking about books, the English department would like funding for lit circle books. This would require 8-10 copies of a variety of novels. In lit circles, students read and then have conversations about their reading with classmates who are reading the same text. The conversations will help students with not only their reading comprehension but also with their analytical skills as well--as they are looking for ways to interpret what is happening in the story.
The lit circles are the next step in the practice that we have been following from Penny Kittle's book Book Love. Thanks to Excellence in Education funding our class libraries based on Penny Kittle's recommendation for encouraging students to read. The next progression is to work with students to lead their conversations about a text and not rely on the teacher to provide questions and information for the conversations. By adding these lit circles, we want to help our students sharpen their independent reading skills, their academic conversation skills, and their critical thinking skills.
We, as a department, feel that lit circles that use more modern texts will aid our students in their education and better prepare them for post-high school college and careers.