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Please do a search for "Reading Circles" and "Reading Circles ESL." You'll find ideas for a novel way to handle the next in-class reader.

The topic has been discussed recently on a list I subscribe to, and I'm pasting in the best post below. Feel free to add roles (illustrator, for example) and to have each group make its final presentation in PowerPoint.

No matter how many books or circles you have, you can assign roles.
Students have to be taught the roles and prepare them prior to
discussion days. Borrowing from K-6 and tweaking some of my own, I use
these roles: Group Facilitator, Summarizer, Culture Guide, Literary
Luminary, and VocabBuilder. That means I have no more than 5 people in
a group, and I frequently choose between Culture Guide and VocabBuilder
depending on which lends itself better to the novel.

The faciliator comes up with 5 discussion questions. (You have to teach
what a discussion question is!) He or she leads the group, keeps things
rolling and makes sure everyone stays involved.

Summarizer- A bang-bang-bang summary of the section everyone read with
comments on the significance of events.

Culture guide- With a novel that lends itself, the student is
responsible for pointing out cultural elements that appear in the novel.


Literary Luminary- Perhaps the toughest role, this person chooses a few
lines or brief passages that he/she wants to draw attention to, for
whatever reason, reads them aloud, and comments on them. Perhaps they
are particularly beautiful, memorable, foreshadowing, descriptive, etc.


The VocabBuilder prepares a page of X number of useful vocabulary words
that may be new or used only passively by the students. (Instructor
decides how to set this up.)

With all of these roles, you need to be very specific as to their
responsibilities and model exactly what you want.
In addition, I give each group a question that asks them to relate what
they read to their own experiences, or a general discussion question
that I want to make sure they bring up in case the facilitator doesn't.
Students should understand that the roles are just to help them discuss,
to prompt discussion. They should be encouraged to go wherever the
discussion leads them and not feel like it is a strict turn-taking
activity.

Sorry for the length of this!
[Who needs an apology?]

Maria Spelleri
State College of Florida USA