Our recent post about reading circles generated a lot of interest and so we thought we'd follow up with a suggestion of how to apply the process to a particular text and put together a reading circle in practice.
So here goes..
As we said in our last post, the teacher lets students decide which story or article they want to read at a given linguistic level. However, there must be at least four (and a maximum of six) reading a text to make a viable group for a reading circle.
The teacher might like to prod one or two more able students to join each group to ensure that conversation moves along at a steady pace. At the same time, the teacher as the facilitator should ensure that these students do not dominate the discussion.
For the purposes of this illustration, we will assume that enough students have chosen Guy de Maupassant's 'Vendetta' (which we have adapted on Read Listen Learn from the original story, and renamed 'Revenge').
The teacher should allow a realistic amount of time for students to read the text at home or together outside class. However, before doing so, the teacher should introduce roles for each member of the group. (For more detail on this, please refer to Mark Furr's article, 'Reading Circles', in OUP's 2011 'Bringing Extensive Reading into the Classroom'.)
The roles are:
Each student should fill in a worksheet in line with their roles:
"A poor old mother's son has been murdered but his killer has escaped. The old lady promises her dead son that she will get revenge but it takes some time before she understands how she can do this. She has no family, friends or money to help her do this.
"The old lady at last decides not to give her dog any food because she wants to train it to attack her son's killer. She makes a figure of a man out of rags and straw and gets the dog to jump at its throat before it gets food. She does this again and again. One day, she crosses the water to the island where her son's killer is working and gets the hungry dog to attack the man, just like she has trained it. When he is dead, the old lady and the dog disappear."
As the discussion continues, the synthesiser should write brief notes on the topics covered and students' opinions on the story.
As a follow-up activity, the students might make a presentation to talk about 'Revenge' to the rest of the class.
These are suggestions of course, rather than rules. We hope they help, let us know what you think....
Image of Guy de Maupassant - Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Graphic of circle of chairs - copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_shevchenkon / 123RF Stock Photo
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