“I am really not
interested in books or
reading or anything like
that. Especially poetry.”
“I hate reading.”
down the hall! You
might bump into
How to Bartle Puzballs
There are tork gooboos of puzballs, including
laplies, mushos, and fushos. Even if you bartle
the puzballs that tovo inny and onny of the
pern, they do not grunto any lipples. In order
to geemee a puzball that gruntos lipples, you
should bartle the fusho who has rarckled the
parshtootoos after her humply fluflu.
From Deeper Reading (2004)
* No! With you. Tell me!
Yes. No! Look.
You didn’t! Yes. Oh, no!
I did He didn’t … Oh, yes.
When? He did. You can’t!
Just now. We didn’t … I can.
Where? You did. Please!
Bedroom. You knew? Don’t beg.
Dead? I knew. Forgive me!
Yes. How long? Too late.
Why? Long enough. Good God!
You know. What now? Good bye.
I don’t! Guess. -------
You do. Police? Operator?
Unfaithful? Later. Yes, sir.
Yes. Why later? The police.
With whom? Guess again. From Deeper Reading (2004)
Middle School Readers:
What We Know
1. Decline in reading motivation and achievement at
the middle school level (Casey, 2009; Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000)
2. Reasons for lack of reading comprehension: poor
motivation, lack of experience, and egocentricity.
They have not had experiences with language in
meaningful situations (Holloway, 1999).
3. Goals that best support middle school students'
development in reading and learning from text:
actively construct meaning from text, learn about
themselves and others, read strategically, and
enjoy reading (Fisher & Ivey, 2006).
students RESPOND, and then
Why is IRE a problem?
FOCUS ON … RATHER THAN …
Literal recall Deep comprehension
Reaching consensus Exploring possibilities
What teachers say
How students listen and respond
Narrow definition of literacy
Expanded view of what it means to
Source: Serafini, F. (2009).Interactive Comprehension Strategies.
Actively construct meaning from text as a
joint activity rather than one that is
transmitted from the teacher to the student.
(Lee & Smagorinsky, 2000; McKeown, Beck, & Blake, 2009)
Can be effective methods to support
engagement at all levels
(Burns, 1998; Casey 2008/2009; Heller, 2006; Lloyd, 2004; Long & Gove, 2003; Swaggerty, 2009; Wiebe Berry & Englert,
Can also promote reading comprehension and
(Applebee, Langer, Nystrand, & Gamoran, 2009; McKeown, Beck, & Blake, 2009; Pardo, 2004; Wiebe Berry & Englert, 2005).
Meet Ms. Bunn and her Kids
• 72 sixth grade students
• 3 blocks of Language Arts
Getting Started with Literature Circles
SCAFFOLD, SCAFFOLD, SCAFFOLD:
“All learning is social at first, with an expert guiding
the learning through scaffolding. An expert teacher
gradually turns over the responsibility of the task to
the learner, moving back in to the dialogue as
1. TEACH THE PROCESS
Choose books, plan with your group, read
carefully with your role in mind, bring your
completed role sheet and talk about the book
with your group, share with the whole class,
complete a response project.
2. WHOLE CLASS PRACTICE TOGETHER
Teach roles and model each one. Ex: everyone
tries being the Discussion Director in small groups,
filling out role sheet first, then “trying on” the role
in small groups.
Discussion Director: acts as group’s facilitator; creates questions to increase
comprehension; asks who, what, why, when, where, how, and what if; open-ended
questions that will stimulate discussion; focus on themes/big ideas
Word Wizard: locates amazing/interesting words; looks for new words or words used
in unusual ways; clarifies word meanings and pronunciations; uses research resource;
points to the words in context
Literary Luminary: locates examples of amazing/interesting writing that could be
read aloud to the group; guides oral reading for a purpose; examines figurative language,
parts of speech, and vivid descriptions
Reporter: prepares a summary of the book or selected reading; highlights the
important details, events, and characters.
Connector: makes text-to-self, text-to-world, and text-to-text connections; makes
connections to what you’re studying; make disconnections.
Checker: checks for completion of assignments; evaluates participation; helps monitor
discussion for equal participation
Teach kids how to talk about text
Teach them how to compose good questions, questions
that invite discussion
Teach kids how to be in a group
Teach them how to listen to one another
Teach kids how to read with purpose
High-interest books, span ability levels
Students rank order books
Teacher build groups based on choice
• Teacher reads aloud a few chapters to build
excitement, set the tone, model pronunciation
of new/difficult words
• Determine roles
• Determine how far to read
• Reminders: How to “be” in a group and how
to read with your role in mind
DURING: Literature Circle Meetings
• Adequate talk time
• Put kids in a circle
• Sit on the outside
• Float and dip
• Strategies such as non-evaluative responses (hmmmm
… ok…) tell students that they are to continue the
• Encourage kids to be respectful of one another’s
perspectives and experiences
• Reinforce positive, respectful, constructive
• Set goals for next meeting
Extra Support for Strugglers
Make sure they can read their books
Meet with them more often to make sure
they are reading and are ready for the
Give them extra opportunities to ask
Make sure they feel success with reading
Keep them excited and motivated
Some High-interest Middle School Books
Drums Girls Dangerous Pie
Freak the Mighty
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief
How I Survived Middle School
My Life as a Book
What Happened to
Elizabeth Swaggerty Kelley Bunn
Reading Education Grade 6 Language Arts Teacher
East Carolina University Chocowinity Middle School
Notas do Editor
Introduce presenters and their relationship with one another. Describe how collaboration came about and kelley’s instruction prior to the collaboration.
Envisioned what we wanted for students as literate beings
We observed students who said this: and we envisioned a shift in attitude like this: I actually observed Kelley say this to a kid in the hallway at the end of the year last year. We envisioned motivated readers who choose to read.
We also want readers who can comprehend text, thinking critically about text. Let’s take a look at this example of text comprehension. How many gooboos of puzballs are there? (tork) What are the laplies, mushos and fushos? (torkgooboos of puzballs) Even if you bartle the puzballs that tovoinny and onny of the pern, they will not what? (will not grunto any lipples) How can you geemee a puzball that gruntoslipples? (bartle the fusho who has rarckled her parshtootoos after her humplyfluflu).
Question: What happened in this story? Readers who look below the surface who can apply a little inferences will come up with a copmlex story compared to the few short words on the page. This is what we want … readers who can move beyond the literal and who can interpret the text. Readers who read way beyond a puzball mentality.
Readers who choose to read for pleasure Move past the literal and make inferences based on what they’re reading – move past the puzball mentality.
What does the research say?There is a documented decline in reading motivation and achievement at the ms level. This is esp bothersome since we know that motivation leads to more reading which leads to achievement. In other words, practice makes kids better readers and if they stop practicing at the middle school level, they won’t get better. There are links between this and later drop outs. We also know that we need to incorporate more opportunities to actively construct meaning from text, learn about themselves and others, read strategically, and enjoy reading.
What is happening in MS classrooms in terms of instruction?In the 70s and 80s researchers such as Meham, Sinclair and Coulthard and Courtney Cazden wrote about the IRE pattern of talk (discourse) in classrooms: teachers INITIATE a discussion topic, most often by posing a question to which students are expected to rESPOND. Then teachers EVALUATE the response. Teachers speak when they wish, decide which topics are important, determine who will talk and for how long, and interject their own responses and interpretations, control the pace and direction of discussion. They also decide what is right and wrong. Teachers do most of the talking.
Reduce comprehension to literal recallTeacher-directed talk focuses on reaching consensus, rather than exploring possibilitiesFocus remains on what teachers say, rather than on how students listen and respond.What it means to be fully literate has expanded
Let’s embrace this RATHER THAN Column and shift to social constructivist learning in our classrooms. Move away from traditional classroom discourse (IRE) Authentic student talk about text to achieve deeper comprehensionScaffold student talk (gradual release of responsibility to the learner – L. Vygotsky)
Literature Discussions can be effective methods to support both ENGAGEMENT and COMPREHENSION
Meet Ms. Bunn: Now that I’ve laid the groundwork for a shift from teacher-led whole group instruction to more student driven activities and learning, I’ll hand it over to master teacher, Kelley Bunn who will share with you how to become more comfortable with the “chaos” of literature discussions.
As with any new learning activity, you’ll need to do a lot of modeling first, and then scaffold students’ learning by providing lots of support at first, and then eventually turn the responsibility of leading discussions over to the students.
Give them enough time to talk.Put kids in a circle.Float and dip in …Supporting them more in the beginning by keeping the conversation going and focused and pushing them to think deeply and consider other perspectives.Freak the Mighty – What would you do if you were Maxwell …not just Maxwell, but Maxwell in Maxwell’s context/situation.Sitting on the outside of the circle to position.Encourage kids to be respectful of one another’s perspectives and experiences (cancer, jail).
Its already chaotic, – teach them how to navigate the digital platform (dictionary.com, typing, searching for info.).why not go all the way??
The book shows you how to look at the world a different wayby looking down on it. You should read the book because it is adventurous and funny.