Literature circle resources organized in a student resource center are an important part of successful literature circles in the classroom. Setting up a literature circle resource center will save you and your students TONS of time. Here are the essential literature circle resources to have readily available.
Top literature circles resources for a resource center
1. Extra copies of literature circle books is the most important of the literature circle resources.
This is HUGELY important. Students will forget or lose their books. Make sure to have 2 or more extra copies on hand. I’ve even had to run copies on the copier in the staff room of specific chapters for students. Whatever it takes, just get the book back in the hands of the student work can continue. Check out this blog post on where I find books for literature circles.
2. Extra copies of the and student packet including literature circles jobs.
I always keep 5-10 extra copies of the literature circle packet on hand and ready. Students will lose their packets. It’s frustrating, but instead of wasting time over the issue, just hand them another copy and move on. I’ve also had students whose packets have been damaged. In this case, pull out the pages that have been completed and are still good and staple them into the new packet. Remember, the point is to keep the learning and the experience moving. Find everything you’ll need to run successful literature circles here.
3. File folders of copies for each page in the literature circle activities student packet.
I’ve learned over the years that many of the “I lost my…” issues are solved by just having 10 copies of each separate page in labeled file folders, especially the literature circles roles. I like to keep them in a box, so things stay organized. This way, you just send a student to the box (Resource Center) for the page they need, staple it into their packet, and move on. If a student forgets their packet that day, the problem is solved!
A bonus to this is that students will realize the hardship of forgetting their packet because they’ll be redoing the work for each page. This is especially true if the meeting is the same day, but it’s a natural consequence. Staple the pages into the packet when it shows up again.
A note for working with struggling students: I don’t want students overwhelmed or so frustrated that they can’t move on. I have no problem with having these students dictate their answers to me while I write their words down on the new pages. This is also something that an instructional aide can do or a volunteer. Remember, the goal is to help the student participate in the meeting.
4. A reading schedule is one of the most essential literature circle resources.
Have the schedule of pages to read for each meeting and the dates for the meetings. This has saved me countless hours! I keep a large poster-sized page near the whiteboard and put it up regularly to remind students of the page goal to meet by the specific date. Even though this should be written on the first two pages of the student packet, students just need a reminder. On work days, I keep this poster up during the entire work time and discuss again the page goal.
5. Provide reading questions for literature circles and save time.
During literature circles, students will be asking questions about their reading. You’ll have students who struggle with coming up with questions, especially during the first meeting. I like to have questions categorized by literary element so we can locate a question. See my leveled questions for reading response. I keep them up on plastic hooks all year long, and I can’t tell you how much these questions reduce my workload. I even use them on reading response logs throughout the year.
6. Audio devices are essential for all students to succeed.
You may need a surplus of headphones in your resource center so that those students using the audio book can grab what’s needed and move on. Read more in this blog post on helping reluctant readers during literature circles.
7. iPads or other devices are important literature circles resources.
I may not put the devices in the student center, but I’d keep them near my desk so I can hand them out or students can grab and go. Students know where the device is housed and return it properly.
8. Supplies for treats and drink are important to have in your teacher resource center.
I don’t put these out for students to access unless they’re helping me. These may include electric tea kettles, herbal tea selections, sturdy cups, permanent markers, plates, napkins, and the names of the students in each reading group. Additionally, I have order forms for students to choose a drink type. For me, this includes water and herbal teas. I avoid juices (sticky…and cups don’t rinse/wash easily), and I don’t offer sweeteners (sticky…and cups don’t rinse/wash easily).
There are times, during winter, that I’ll offer hot chocolate, but this is usually for the last meeting so that cups can be disposed of after. Since I try to be as eco-friendly as possible, I rinse cups, let them air dry for the night, and put them away the next day.
Supplying the key resources for student will help increase the success of your literature circles experience. Once you have your area or box set up, it’s quick to pull out and put away. It doesn’t take much time, and it’s something an instruction aide can work to keep supplies at the ready. A resource center with the right literature circle resources is essential for a successful literature circles experience.
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