*To learn more about how I typically run Literature Circles, click here.
This week, I added in a new element that I thought would be fun and my students loved it! I call it Book Buddies. This is where students each have a journal, and in it, they write a letter to their Book Buddy about what they read the night before. I save this activity for when something really amazing, sad, scary or surprising happens in the story. That way, students will typically have a lot to write about. After the initial letter is written, students switch journals and write a letter back to their buddy.
I set them up for success by first discussing what they could write about. On the board, I wrote:
Steps for Writing to Your Book Buddy
1. Find a section in what you read last night that really struck you. What made you angry? What made you confused? What made you sad? (These are all reactions that I knew they would have while reading the assigned chapters the night before. I make these questions based on what they read.)
2. Reread that section and think about:
a. Do you agree with the characters' actions? Why or why not?
b. What don't you understand or what do you want to know?
c. What predictions to do you have?
3. Write a quick summary of the section you are writing about and then respond using prompts from #2.
After I reviewed the steps, students felt really excited about the section they were going to write about and spent a good 15 minutes writing. Afterwards, they switched and read each other's letters and then responded.
This was really successful in my classroom! I hope you are able to use this in yours as well!