Lit Circles

Reading Groups to Help Promote a Love of Literature

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Our Weekly Book Clubs Promote Reading!

(Or at least make it less painful!)

Three mornings a week, students spend half an hour in small groups led by staff members from all across YouthBuild.  During their Lit Circles, students and staff enjoy books together that they've chosen based on personal interest.  Depending on staff and student preferences, some groups take turns reading out loud, whereas others read silently before coming back together to share thoughts.  Although each group follows its own system, the primary goal is the same: to appreciate the joy of reading.

Over the course of eight weeks, each students reads a novel-length book and writes eight pages (2,000 words) of response.  Students who complete this work receive 25 points (0.25 credits) toward their graduation requirements.  Those students who add a second book and write an additional eight pages will receive credit for a full English course (0.5 credits).

A collection of readings to help students better understand the history and legacy of September 11, 2001.

Understanding the War in Ukraine

Suggested Reading Collections

Organizing the Book Groups

Here are links to the documents used to help guide and organize the groups:

Staff Facilitator Guide: This provides ideas and guidance for staff members to successfully lead their reading groups.

Attendance and Daily Checklist: This provides both an attendance sheet and a guide for what students should accomplish each day.  The Lit Circle is paced to ensure that each student has an opportunity to finish reading a novel of around 300 pages and write eight pages of response.

Intro Lit Circle Worksheet: For students who enter the program in the middle of a Lit Circle cycle, there's an opportunity to read poems and short stories with an ad hoc group.  This worksheet guides them through the activities they'll engage in when they join a long-term group in the next cycle.

Sign-Up Sheet: It all starts with the sign-up sheet!  Actually, no — first, staff and students give their suggestions for books, and then I set out the available options with the sign-ups.  During the week before each Lit Circle cycle, students look over the books and sign up for the ones they're interested in reading.