Literature Circle Table Tents

Using literature circles is another way to increase student comprehension.  Even teachers of prescribed reading series should incorporate additional authentic literature in their teaching.  This literature may be related to curricular units and must be high interest and at an appropriate reading level of students.

I adapted my reading comprehension posters into Literature Circle Table Tents (print and fold each in half after laminating) which I use to assign each student a job.

The jobs are:  The Predictor, Maker of Connections, Great Summarizer, Curious Clarifier, Word Wizard, and the Very Good Visualizer.  Of course, when reading in the real world each person must do each of the jobs.  However, in literature circles each person specializes on a particular job each day (we switch jobs daily).  This gives students additional practice using the strategies and ensures that they know what each of the strategies is.  Each card includes a definition.

For additional information on literature circles, I recommend the following:

In the Middle by Nancy Atwell
This is more about Reader’s Workshop than about literature circles but it does give you fantastic ideas about how to develop reading comprehension and interest in literature.  I highly recommend it. gives some additional information about how to set up literature circles.

Somehow the Literature Circle name intimidates some teachers.  I like to think of them as Oprah’s Book Club for kids.  It’s really just about enjoying literature with peers while the teacher helps facilitate some discussion surrounding the book.

Have any literature circle tips to share?

Update:  Adding Edutopia Article on Literature Circle Discussions

8 Responses to “Literature Circle Table Tents”

  1. Eric Buffington Says:

    I really like the titles you give the students. I bet they love having those titles and it helps them focus during the reading. These are some wonderful ideas for having effective reading circles.

  2. Luka Blogwalker Says:

    Love these! What great ways to enhance skills during reading and make Literature Circles more “user-friendly.” Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. Angela Greene Says:

    Mr. Needleman,

    I am a junior at the University of South Alabama majoring in Secondary Education–mathematics. Please feel free to check out my blog at:

    In my elementary and secondary schools, my teachers divided us into literature circles. However, we were not given the same jobs/titles as your students. I like the titles you have created (The Predictor, Maker of Connections, Great Summarizer, Curious Clarifier, Word Wizard, and the Very Good Visualizer). Instead, my classmates and I were given the job of finding the problem, the solution, the climax, the rising action, etc. If we had been given interesting jobs like your students, I might have enjoyed literature class more! 🙂

  4. Isabelle Selak Says:

    I love these tent cards! The titles you gave each job are awesome. By giving the students a different job each day, you really do give them the opportunity to practice the skills of interpreting and comprehending content. By giving them a clear definition of the job, you are giving them a focus. Thanks for all the great tips and ideas!

  5. Katrina Ashlock Says:

    I have a question regarding literature circles. I was on reading the way to conduct literature circles. My question is how do you teach your students what questions to ask when they are in their discussion circles? I have modeled several times, but when I leave them alone to conduct their own discussions they seem lost.

  6. Mathew Says:

    I never leave students alone to have discussions. All discussion are facilitated by me. Independently, however, students read chapters from the book and may be assigned specific tasks (for example, look for examples of metaphors, find words you don’t know, see how two characters are alike/different, etc.)

  7. Katherine Schlick Noe Says:

    Katrina, I’m so happy that you were exploring the Literature Circles Resource Center web site! How old are your students? Their age and experience with discussions might have a lot to do with the quality of the questions they’re asking. I recommend Alexandra Moses’s article on Edutopia, “Classroom Literature Circles Expand Thought” ( She has some excellent examples of how teachers guide discussions that might give you some useful ideas to try, in addition to Mathew’s great resources on this blog!

  8. lesia Says:

    Good afternoon,

    I love the lit circle tents as well. This is my summer project on my time off! 🙂 I will be setting up lit. circles for my third graders for next year. I wanted to pass along website I found very beneficial. Teachers share a variety of files (yes, just download them) on lit circles and so much more. I hope this helps others as it has been beneficial for me.
    Best part, it’s free!

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