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Children with the lowest reading scores really wanted to participate in the literature ... Literature circles, gender and reading for enjoyment. J. Allan, S. ...

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literature circles and boosting children s reading for enjoyment

Literature circles and boosting children’s reading for enjoyment

Experiences of Schools in Scotland

what are literature circles
What are literature circles?

Literature circles are like adult book-groups. Children meet regularly in class to discuss a book. Groups form on the basis of book choice rather than on how well children read.

what happened in classes that set up literature circles
What happened in classes that set up literature circles?
  • Children gained autonomy and enthusiasm for reading
  • They also began to ask to set up additional groups
what else happened
What else happened?
  • Parents said that their children had spontaneously been discussing books at home.
  • Both boys and girls were a lot more positive about reading in school.
  • And they read more books too!
what about low attainers
What about low attainers?

Children with the lowest reading scores really wanted to participate in the literature circles, and taking part improved their attitudes towards reading.

good news for boys 1
Good news for boys 1.
  • Literature circles worked particularly well for boys
  • They read more for pleasure at home – and got totally absorbed in their book
  • They also recommended books to friends!
good news for boys 2
Good news for boys 2.

The receptive vocabulary of boys improved – i.e. they recognised words when they saw or heard them.

how did literature circles work best
How did literature circles work best?

Literature circles worked best when teachers had prepared the groundwork to facilitate purposeful collaboration.

pupil autonomy was important
Pupil autonomy was important

Literature circles were most successful when pupils played a real part in selecting the book and when the groups met on a regular basis.

what did the teachers learn
What did the teachers learn?

Teachers began to question and develop their views of how to foster reading attitudes and attainment.

what were the challenges 1
What were the challenges? 1

Teachers needed to learn how to value talk – as well as to empower children to work within literature circles.

what were the challenges 2
What were the challenges? 2

Giving children book choices had financial implications – as it meant buying multiple copies of books. Head teachers had to think of cost effective ways of doing this.

why did the literature circles work 1
Why did the literature circles work? 1

They provided teachers with the chance to promote reading for enjoyment by harnessing the social networks that existed within the class.

why did the literature circles work 2
Why did the literature circles work? 2

They promoted reading as an active and desirable social activity, rather than an essentially private and individual one.

about the study
About the study

The Scottish Executive study looked at teachers’ and pupils’ experiences of setting up literature circles. It also looked at the impact on pupils’ attainment and attitudes. It involved 96 pupils, 3 primary teachers and one secondary teacher across 4 schools.

where to find out more
Where to find out more
  • Literature circles, gender and reading for enjoyment
  • J. Allan, S. Ellis and C. Pearson Department of Childhood and Primary Studies (University of Strathclyde)
  • Published November 2005
feedback on this presentation
Feedback on this presentation
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