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Mini-lessons for Literature Circles

  • Title:Mini-lessons for Literature Circles
  • Author:Harvey "Smokey" Daniels, Nancy Steineke
  • Publication Date:July 2004
  • Grade Level:6-12
  • ISBN:9780325007021
  • Publisher:Heinemann

Harvey Daniels' Literature Circles introduced tens of thousands of teachers to the power of student-led book discussions. Nancy Steineke's Reading and Writing Together showed how a teacher can nurture friendship and collaboration among young readers. Now, Daniels and Steineke team up to focus on one crucial element of the Literature Circle model; the short, teacher-directed lessons that begin, guide and follow-up every successful book club meeting.

Mini-lessons are the secret to book clubs that click. Each of these forty-five short, focused, and practical lessons includes Nancy and Harvey's actual classroom language and is formatted to help busy teachers with point-by-point answers to the questions they most frequently ask.

How can I:

  • steer my students toward deeper comprehension?
  • get kids interested in each others' ideas?
  • make sure kids choose just-right books?
  • help students schedule their reading and meeting time?
  • deal with kids who don't do the reading?
  • get kids to pay more attention to literary style and structure?
  • help special education and ELL students to participate actively in book clubs?
  • get kids to expand their repertoire of reading strategies?
  • make sure groups are on-task when I'm not looking over their shoulder?
  • introduce writing tools (including role sheets) that support student discussion?.
  • help shy or dominating members get the right amount of "airtime?"
  • give grades for book clubs without ruining the fun?
  • use scientific research to justify the classroom time I spend on literature circles?

Each mini-lesson spells out everything from the time and materials needed to word-by-word instructions for students. The authors even warn "what could go wrong," helping teachers to avoid predictable management problems. With abundant student examples, reproducible forms, photographs of kids in action, and recommended reading lists, Mini-lessons for Literature Circles helps you deepen student book discussions, create lifelong readers, and build a respectful classroom community.

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Author Bio

Harvey “Smokey” Daniels has been a city and suburban classroom teacher and a college professor, and now works as a national consultant and author on literacy education. In language arts, Smokey is known for his pioneering work on student book clubs. Harvey works with elementary and secondary teachers throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, offering demonstration lessons, workshops, and consulting, with a special focus on creating, sustaining, and renewing student-centered inquiries and discussions of all kinds. Smokey shows colleagues how to simultaneously build students' reading strategies, balance their reading diets, and strengthen the social skills they need to become genuine lifelong readers.

A 25-year veteran of the teaching profession, Nancy Steineke has taught 9-12 English at Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois, since 1984. During the summer, she works with Dr. Harvey Daniels at the Walloon Institute, offering seminars for teachers, administrators, parent leaders, and their families.

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