Knowing that we’ve got a couple of bookworms in our midst I would like to talk about creating a book club (literature circle). I’ve read the article by Mark Furr where he shares his experience in organizing such literary circles with his Japanese students and I find his ideas worth implementing.
Instead of reading and retelling the text Mark Furr suggests to assign different roles to the members of the literature circle.
These roles are:
1) the Group Discussion Leader whose job is to act as a facilitator in the group and to keep the discussion flowing. The Discussion Leader is directed to read the story a number of times so that she has a very solid grasp of the possible themes and the basic plot of the story. The Discussion Leader opens the discussion with a few open-ended questions concerning the story and then proceeds to call on other group members to share their findings with the group.
2) the Summarizer presents her summary early in the discussion so that everyone can remember the plot of the story. It’s important to emphasize that the summarizer gives a brief but complete summary of the plot. … the summary should be “a one or two-minute summary,” but often the students take twice that long to read their summaries at first. Other students are encouraged to ask the summarizer to read her summary a second time if that will help everyone to understand the plot a little better. By paying careful attention to the plot of the story, the Summarizer is reading the story for general comprehension rather than studying literary language or devices.
3) the Connector, whose role is to try to find connections between the text and the real world in which she lives. For example, the Connector may make connections between the thoughts, feelings or actions of characters in the story and family members, friends or classmates.
4) the Word Master. While the Group Discussion Leader and the Summarizer need to read the text and prepare to discuss the story from a global standpoint, the Word Master focuses on single words or very short phrases; thus, the WM is doing a very close reading of the text. The Word Master may choose only five words which she believes to be the most important words found in a story. The Word Master should also look for special uses of common words and ask their classmates, “What do you think ______means in this situation?” Or “Why does
the writer repeat the word _______ eight times in the first two pages of this story?”
5) the Passage Person. Like the Word Master, the PP is asked to make a very close reading of the text and to look for well-written or key passages in the story. In my classes, the PP quite often chooses passages which she finds confusing and then asks the group for help in understanding the passage.
6) the Culture Collector’s job is to look at the story and note both differences and similarities between the culture represented in the story and their own culture. For example, as a Collector, you might think about the theme of the story and talk about whether or not this theme is important in your own culture.
Your comments and questions are welcome (as always) 🙂