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Effective Book Clubs in the Middle School ELA Classroom

 Book clubs used to scare the bejeezus out of me.  Even way back when I was in college, book clubs were widely taught as one of the most effective ways to teach reading, but you had to make sure you did “this”, and don’t forget about “that”, and if you truly want to be effective, you must show up in full costume with a choreographed tap dance with the autograph of a celebrity to share.  I mean, perhaps that’s a bit of an over exaggeration, but when you are just getting started all the information and strategies to implement can seem just as overwhelming. 

So, after 15 years of running middle school book clubs and making all the mistakes, here are my top 6 tips to cut out all of the noise to deliver effective book clubs in your middle school ELA classroom.

Don’t begin a book club until later on in the school year.

Book clubs take structure, routine, and trust from the teacher.  All of these things are built over time...

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The 3 Most Important Aspects of Middle School Literature Circles

literature circles Jun 23, 2020

I love middle school literature circles. Well, once I learned how to plan and manage them to my students’ benefit...then, I started to love middle school literature circles. In my 15 years of experience, I learned that there were 3 main keys to literature circle success.

 Provide students the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning.

Literature Circles are such an effective way for students to learn the idea of taking responsibility for their learning.  They are an opportunity for us to use our creativity and innovation to create an experience for students to take responsibility themselves. The two ways I do this are:

  1. Allowing students to schedule their own reading amounts and assigning their own jobs.
    • I provide student schedules and calendars to help them accomplish this goal.
  2. Allowing students the ability to choose how they will demonstrate their knowledge through a culminating project.
    • I provide a handout that allows them to track their ideas...
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