Lit Circle novels

Grant Applicant
Erin LeFevers
Grant Co-applicants
Kate Teller, Katie Freeman and Tom LeFevers
School Site
North Tahoe High School
Grant Date
2020
Description (10 points)

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.

Benefits of Program (10 points)

Any student enrolled in English at NTHS will benefit from this grant because they will be participating in the lit circles throughout their time at NTHS.  The students will benefit from reading more and also from leading and participating in academic conversations about the novels they read.

Success of Program (10 points)

The success of the program will be measured by the depth of the conversation the students are having with each other as well as the increase in their abilities to comprehend more difficult texts.  The lit circle books will range in reading level to address the different needs of the students.  The differing range will help to push students in the difficulty of reading material by gradually having students who are lower-level readers star with an at-level book and then push to the next level up, to encourage students to challenge themselves.  Since they will be working in groups, their peers can help each other with comprehension and analysis. 

We would also be able to measure the success of the program by the transition of the skills they learn and use in their conversations to their writing.  When students are more comfortable with reading and read more, they become better writers as well.  The skills used to analyze texts in order to speak about them helps students to use the same analysis when writing their papers.

Implementation (10 points)

Ideally, we would order our book sets during the summer so that we have them ready to go when school starts in September.  Since the circles have to be set up, we would need time to plan our circles and prep materials in order to start the groups off.  This prep would include introductory information as well as organizing students by ability so that those who need extra support (our lower level readers and ELD students) would not be started off with one of the more difficult texts.  These lit circles are a year-long project.  The books would rotate between the groups so that students have the opportunity to read most of the titles.

If we were not able to start right away when school starts, we would hopefully be able to start by the end of Oct at the latest.  As mentioned above, it is a year-long project and the sooner we can start, the more opportunity the students have to interact with each other and the different texts.

 

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

We are writing this grant as a subject team--the whole English department is behind this grant.  We could share it with other English departments across the district if they were interested.

Sustainability
If this grant is funded, then it will be sustained within the department and school. The books will be issued to students--if a book is not returned, then the student is responsible to replace the missing book. These lit circle books should last several years.
Amount Funded
$5000.00
Other funding sources

There is some Measure AA money if we would like to use our Academic Enhancement money (we each receive $200 per year).  But this amount would not fulfill our need for several sets of books for the lit circles.  We need 8-12 copies of several different novels to cover our 5 classes.  For example, if I am teaching 11th graders, I have 2 classes of 30 students. The 8 copies would allow me to have 2 groups of 4 for each class. If I teach 9th grade, then I have 4 classes so I would need more copies of each title.  The different English teachers will figure out how many classes they have and how many copies of each title they will need.  

Notes

I didn't include a formal budget, because teachers will need to take time to figure out which novels they want to order and how many of each title to order.  Books range anywhere from $10-$20 so teachers will use their monies to best fit their needs.  We figure $2500 each would be enough to be able to start our lit circle sets.  

Please email me if you have any questions.