Reading Circles Get Students to Do the Reading

In my course, the required reading is intensive and extensive. Students must read multiple texts that range across disciplines, genres, history, and culture. The goal of this interdisciplinary course is improvement of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. My students, like many others, live complicated lives. Add to that the fact that many are not particularly good readers or people who like to read, and the result is students arriving in class not having done the reading. I decided to revisit Literature Circles, first introduced in the mid-1990s by Harvey Daniels for grades 3 through 8 in Chicago and described as small, peer-led discussion groups whose members have chosen to read the same text. Basic educators have found them enormously successful. I wondered whether they might work in my undergraduate course. Since not all the reading in my course is literature, I decided to call them Reading Circles.

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