Literature Circle Novel Sets

Moderation state
Grant Applicant
Jill Zapata
School Site
Grant Category
Grant Date

Sierra High School recognizes that this is a repeated request for Literature Circle Novels. However, the need for these novels does not diminish over time. If anything, this project has become a yearly expectation with students discussing all year what books they read last year and what books they wish to read this year. Also, as a result of the pandemic, our students have had very limited access to projects that require collaboration and public presentations in the last few years, making the need for this project even more pronounced. The supplementation of this grant allows Sierra High to be flexible and creative in choosing titles that students wish to read.


Building on Sierra High School’s commitment to literacy, the Literature Circles are a culminating yearly event where students demonstrate their autonomous learning and developing literacy skills. As a final project in the English classes, students choose novels of their own, set a reading pace with their peer group, conduct weekly conversations around their novels, demonstrate their literacy skills in fishbowl assessments and participate in final presentations where they act as docents and present their novels to the public. The purpose of this grant is to supplement the novel sets that are needed to support this project. This Literature Circle project directly supports Sierra High School’s literacy plan by building on students’ skills as they manage their own interactions and learning with novels of their choice and prepare to present their knowledge to the school community and the public.

Benefits of Program

All students enrolled in English during the school year of 2021-22 will benefit from the Literature Circle project and the grant’s support of the novel sets. Since English courses at Sierra High School are heterogenous, mixed grade level classes, the diverse population of the school site is represented. Specifically, Sierra High’s special education and English language learners directly benefit from the weekly conversations and presentation expectations. In addition, the need for credit recovery and credit acceleration from the student population assures that at least 90% of students’ enrolled in Sierra High are enrolled in an English course.

Success of Program

The success of the program is measured by the students' interaction with their novels, their peers and their ability to be successful docents at the public presentations. Because students are responsible for setting how many pages they will read weekly in their groups, which roles they will prepare for weekly conversations and for developing a presentation the whole group will oversee during the final presentation, students become more independent readers and talkers 

The Literature Circles project at Sierra High has been a reoccurring unit now for several years. Students who attend Sierra High for multiple years now clearly expect that they will be reading and speaking independently about things they read in their classes. This upholds Sierra High’s ongoing commitment to build student literacy and strengthens student educational experiences across the curriculum.


The Literature Circle project takes place during the last 9 weeks of the school year. Students select novels and peer groups they will read with; they create a weekly calendar of how many pages they must read; they assign weekly roles for supporting their conversations around the novels ( for example: the discussion director, the connector, the illustrator); they prepare for a fishbowl assessment where they conduct a conversation in front of all of their peers; and they prepare a visual representation of their novel using a tri fold presentation board where they will act as a docent with the public during the final exhibit.

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

Due to the small nature of Sierra High School, I am the grade level and subject team. However, because of how close our school community works, the whole school community - teachers, students, support staff - participate in preparing for and attending the book presentations. 

The support of this grant helps build sets of novels that may be used in future literature circles. However, the nature of the work done yearly -- the students' writings and annotations during their reading process, their desire to keep novels they have read deeply and their inclination to read new titles each year- often dictates the need for additional book sets purchased. Some students take English at Sierra High School for two or three years so the need to provide new novel sets yearly is high.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$495 - Multiple copies of novels
Other funding sources

There are some limited resources also available through Title 1, Measure A and ELD

File Uploads
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Were applicable, we source materials from the local bookstore, Word After Word, Dover Thrift Publishers, Books a Million and Amazon to keep costs down.