Literature Circles – Roles and Responsibilities


* Discussion Director
* Passage Master
* Word Wizard
* Summarizer
* Connector


Discussion Director:

There are several d uties associated with this role. First, the Discussion Director is responsible for guiding the literature circle through the discussion of the selected chapter(s). Another duty is to read the sele ction and determine in advance which questions should be posed in order to crea te excitement and thought provoking discussion within the group. The Discussion Director is also responsible for ensuring that all members participate in the discussion a nd that the participants keep on task, redirecting the discussion as necessary. Some specific questions to use in this role include:

* What did the reading make you think of?
* What ques tions do you have about the reading?
* What do y ou predict will happen next?
* Specific questions focusing on the five elements.
o See Figure 11-3 from the textbook, “Literacy for the 21st Century” by Gail E. Tompkins for specific questioning ideas.

Passage Master:

The Passage Master is responsible for finding and documenting key passages found throughout the reading selection. In addit ion, the Passage Master documents the passages other group members find memorable. In doing so, the Passage Master is focusing on the literary merits of the selection. Some key characteristics to look for when choosing passages include:

* Passages that provide insight into the judgments, feelings, emotions or actions of a character.
* Passages that provide an “aha” experience for the reader.
* Passages in which key story elements are revealed.
* Passages that demonstrate personal revelation or wisdom on behalf of a character.
* Passages that are particularly good at describing people, places, things, animals, emotions, feelings

Word Wizard:

The Word Wizard is responsible for finding and documenting unfamiliar vocabulary words. In addition, the Word Wizard doc uments the unfamiliar vocabulary words others in the literature circle have foun d. It is also the role of the Word Wizard to explore and document the author’s craft in terms of using words to describe people, places, things, animals, etc., as well as when the author uses vocabulary in a different context or in a manner which seems to add confusion or clarity to the reading selection. Some possible uses of vocabulary to look for when reading the selection include:

* Unfamiliar words (use context clues to determine the meaning(s)
* Words that have been used alone or in combination to describe something in great detail; that help the reader to connect or to unleash their imagination.
* Words that have been used in a confusing context – perhaps the word choice adds confusion and/or clarity.


Besides reading the selection in advance and jotting down key notes, there is little the summarizer can do ahead of time to prepare for the literature circle discussion. The role of the Summarizer is to briefly discuss their notes with the group, and then document critical discussion points, conclusions, predictions, etc. that the group derives from the actual discussion itself. The summarizer will present their summary during the Grand Discussion; Some elements the Summarizer should include in their summary include:

* Key concl usions the group has come to as a result of the discussion.
* Key point s in the reading selection that have the group excited, curious, or that they just find interesting.
* Passages where humor has been used.
* Key passa ges discussed. (From the discus sion lead by the Passage Keeper)
* Vocabulary words. (From the discussion lead by the Word Wizard)
* Predictio ns the group is making after reading the selection.
* How the g roup has connected the reading selection.; (From the discussion lead by the Connector)


The role of the Con nector in the literature circle is to make connections between elements in the reading selection to students’ lives, the lives of others, and/or from one character in the book to another character. The Connector may also find ways in which to connect the reading selection to other literary works. Some possible ways to make connections include:

* How do the thoughts, actions, emotions of a character remind us of ourselves, our parents, our friends, our siblings, etc.?
* How does the setting remind us of our own family environment, our community, or our school?
* Is there a connection between chapters?
* Are there any connections between characters within the book?
* Is there a connection between this book and other books written by the same author? Other books written by different authors?