The Legitimacy of Literacy Circles

Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. I believe that it should be defined as the ability to read, write, and communicate.

Reading, writing, and communicating are the cornerstones of effective instruction in any ELAR classroom. They are also necessary tools needed in life to sustain meaningful relationships, personal or business. 

So, it only makes sense to use literacy circles to actively engage scholars in these three practices on a regular basis.

Literacy Circles are a legit way to build community in a classroom.

They create a safe place to share and exchange ideas, to give reading and writing instruction, to learn how to accept praise and critiques, and give scholars the freedom to do what they come to school to do- SOCIALIZE!

How I Conduct Literacy Circles

Start with a Task

Be it reading or writing, always start with a task or an assignment to ensure that students come to the circle with something to offer.

Protocols Must Be in Place

No matter how many circles you conduct, always start with the rules of the circle. This is important because kids forget and because structure and consistency lead to effetiveness.

The Power Position

It sounds like more than what it actually is. Whether a chair, a pedestal, or a position in the center of the circle. The power position is the place that each scholar takes when it is their turn to share out. 

Some are more excited than others to take this place. But even those that have to be motivated into the position stand to gain from it. 

A Praise

After a student shares, three separate classmates share something positive that they heard, liked or learned. 

A Question

Then, at least two different classmates pose a question about what was shared.

A Critique

Finally, one or more friends, give feedback sharing a correction that can be made or a revision that should be considered to meet all the requirements of the original assignment.

That’s it.

I will admit that it takes a little time getting students in the swing of things, but once they get it they will harass you into literacy circles. 

Community and collaboration are the two things they thrive on.

I hope that you will try them in your classrooms or your homeschool collectives.

Teacher, T.