"I think literature's job is to help kids find their
way and see their way in books. It's hopefully illuminating
the challenges that we have as people in this world."
5th and 6th Grades Teacher, The Odyssey School
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Orchestrating meaningful literature discussions is a delicate
dance. Teachers must artfully push the conversation along,
while at the same time, not intrude on students' unique perspectives
and interpretations. In this scenario, the teacher is not
the point from which all conversation flows, but a knowledgeable
member of the literary community, modeling risk-taking and
dynamic approaches to examining texts. Teachers need to be
keen observers of the discussion dynamics, knowing when to
end conversations, when to start new ones, and when to encourage
students to further develop their ideas.
planning is involved in facilitating a successful literature
discussion. Teachers contemplate issues and concerns that
are raised in a text by preparing thought-provoking questions
before a class meeting. Teachers consider ways they can help
students make connections to other texts and to their own
lives. Teachers plan for inviting multiple viewpoints and
time to explore others' perspectives.
In Workshop 3, teachers explore ways to help their students
dig deeper in the literature, consider possibilities they
may not have explored on their own, and experience a vibrant,
For a complete guide to the workshop session activities,
download and print our Support Materials.