Findings from Plains Reading Council Literature Discussion Group
Meetings on:
The Research and Professional Literature on Literature Discussion/Response Groups, Circles, and Clubs
The research articles and/or summaries of research we found indicate that literature response groups, in various forms and by various names, produce the following results:             1. self-selection of books (from sets provided by the teacher);
            2. choices of roles within groups (such as Discussion Director,
                Vocabulary Enricher, Passage Picker, Illustrator, Quotation Chooser;
                See Daniels, 1994); and
            3. sharing interpretations and knowledge in social interactions with peers.  
    Almasi, J. (1995). The nature of fourth gradersí sociocognitive conflicts in peer-led and teacher-led discussions of literature. Reading Research Quarterly, 30, 314-351.
    Anzul, M. (1993). Exploring literature with children within a transitional framework. In K. Holland, R. Hungerford, & S. Ernst (Eds.), Journeying: Children responding to literature (pp. 187-203).
    Atwell, Nancie. 1987. In the middle: Writing, reading, and learning
with adolescents. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.
    Borders, S.G., & Naylor, A.P. (1993). Children talking about books. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx.
    Burns, B. (1998). Changing the classroom climate with literature circles. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 42, 124-129.
    Commeyras, M., & DeGroff, L. (1998) Literacy professionalsí perspectives on professional development and pedagogy: A United States survey. Reading Research Quarterly, 33, 434-472.
    Daniels, H. (1994). Literature circles: Voice and choice in the student-centered classroom. York, ME: Stenhouse.
    Encisco, P. (1992). Creating the story world: A case study of a young readerís engagement strategies and stances. In J. Many & C. Cox (Eds.), Reader stance and literary understanding (pp. 75-102). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
    Galda, L. (1992) Evaluation as a spectator: Changes across time and genre. In J. Many & C. Cox (Eds.), Reader stance and literary understanding (pp. 127-142). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
    Galda, L. (1993). How preferences and expectations influence evaluative response to literature. In K. Holland, R. Hungerford, & S. Ernst (Eds.), Journeying: Children responding to literature (pp. 302-315). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
    Gilles, C. (1990). Collaborative literacy strategies: "We donít need to have a circle to have a group." In K. Short & K. Pierce (Eds.), Cycles of meaning (pp. 199-217). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
    Kletzien, S.B., & Hushion, B.C. (1992). Reading workshop: Reading, writing, thinking. Journal of Reading, 35, 444-451.
    Knoeller, C.P. (1994). Negotiating interpretations of text: The role of student-led discussions in understanding literature. Journal of Reading, 37, 572-580.
    Nystrand, M. & Gamoran, A. (1991).Instructional discourse, student engagement, and literature achievement. Research in the Teaching of English, 25, 261-290.
    Nystrand, M. & Gamoran, A. (1993). From discourse communities to interpretative communities: A study of ninth grade literature instruction. In G. Newell & R. Durst (Eds.), Exploring texts: The role of discussion and writing in the teaching and learning of literature (pp. 91-111). Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.
    Protherough, R. (1987) The stories that readers tell. In B. Cocoran & E. Evans (Eds.), Readers, texts, teachers (pp. 75-92). Montclair, NJ: Boynton-Cook.
    Raphael, T.E. & McMahon, S.I. (1994). Book club: An alternative framework for reading instruction. The Reading Teacher, 48, 102-116.
    Samway, K., Whang, G., Cade, C., Gamil, M., Lubandina, M., & Phommachanh, K.. (1991). Reading the skeleton, the heart, and the brain of a book: Students' perspectives on literature study circles. The Reading Teacher, 45, 196-205.
    Short, K. (1993) Making connections across literature and life. In K. Holland, R. Hungerford, & S. Ernst (Eds.), Journeying: Children responding to literature (pp. 284-301). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
    Smith, K. (1990). Entertaining a text: A reciprocal process. In K. Short & K. Pierce (Eds.), Talking about books: Creating literate communities (pp. 17-31). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
    Spiegle, D. (1998). Silver bullets, babies, and bath water: Literature response groups in a balanced literacy program. The Reading Teacher, 52, 114-124.
    Swift, K. (1993). Try reading workshop in your classroom. The Reading Teacher, 46, 366-371.
    Turner, J., & Paris, S.G. (1995). How literacy tasks influence childrenís motivation for literacy. The Reading Teacher, 48, 662-673.
 Additional teacher resources and support for literature response groups can be found in the theories, philosophies, and applications at the Literature Circles web site (