Vocabulary Director & Word Detective Literature Circle Response Cards

Literature Circle response cards help students focus in on their task without overwhelming them.

I cruised through my little stash of literature circle resources and decided to condense them into a mini version of some of my favorite literature circle worksheets.

It’s a work in progress…

Vocabulary Director and Word Detective Response Cards - This page contains two vocabulary cards.

The first one is for the Vocabulary Director job. The instructions are below.

While you’re reading, write down at least four words that are new to you. Write down the page number, the paragraph and line you found it on. Write the word and the definition that best fits the sentence. Record the information in the space provided on the cart below. Your next task is to come up with a presentation plan. How will you present it to your group? Will you challenge your group mates to a race to see who will find the word first? Be creative!

The second one is for the Word Detective. The instructions are below.

While you’re reading, write down at least four words that are new to you. Write down the word and the word origin.  Does the word contain any Greek or Latin root words? What is the meaning of the root word? Find the definition that best fits the sentence. Record the information in the space provided on the chart below.


Literature Circle Response Cards

Literature Circle Reading Response Cards divide and chunk down the roles, so English Language Learners (ELL) can participate in Literature Circles in an authentic and meaningful way.

Literature Circles can be overwhelming even for native language speakers, but there is a way to get ESL students interacting with the text without having them freeze up in a panic.

Literature Circle reading response cards chunk down the roles in to manageable bite size pieces. I wish I could take credit for this one, but I happened to stumble upon it while browsing through the teacherspayteachers.com website.

While some of these TPT free worksheets may not be exactly broken down into chunk sized pieces, you can be the judge as to their usefulness in your classroom adapt them to meet your student’s needs.

Literature Circle Jobs

Non-Fiction Reading Response Cards

Guided Reading Prompt Cards


Literature Circles

Posted by admin on December 17, 2010 in Literature Circles, Reading

Literature Circles have a built in accountability factor that encourages the students to interact with the text.

The first time I encountered a literature circle was when I went back to college after taking a rather long hiatus. Actually, I had to pick up some classes because I needed to get my teaching certification updated. I can’t remember which class it was, but I do remember the instructor, Dr. Smolen. I had actually had Dr. Smolen when she first came to The University of Akron. That was right about the time I was warping up my bachelors degree.

At first, I thought Literature Circles were a dumb idea, but I started to warm up to the idea after a few classes. Now I see the value, richness and meaning that literature circles can bring to text.

The big question is… “Is this something you can do with second language learners?” I believe the answer to that is,”Yes, you can!” but only if the students are at an intermediate level. Typically, the average second language learner can read English pretty well and probably knows English grammar better than most native speakers, but some times their writing skills may be a little week. Literature circles incorporate all four areas of language acquisition into one nice little package – reading, writing, listening and speaking.

What is a literature circle? If you haven’t any idea what a literature circle is, then check out Ohio Resource Center’s video page. There is a two part video that you can watch online. In the video, the students authentically model the literature circle roles. Also, you can find a good explanation of literature circles roles over at npatterson.net.

Litcircles.org seems to be the website with the biggest presence on the web at the time of this writing. It certainly seems to be a fantastic resource. There is a page devoted entirely to literature circle structure, which in my opinion is a good place to start. If you are going to do literature circles with your class, it is important to be well organized and have your procedures and expectations nailed down before starting such an endeavor, that way if there is any deviation, it will be easy to redirect the students and get them back on track.

The beauty of literature circles are that there is an accountability factor built into the literature circle group process. Each student is responsible for fulfilling their role within the group. The links provided below will take you to PDF documents that you can use in the classroom.

The Literature Circle Planner the Discussion Debriefing Sheet, the Daily Study Record, the Self Evaluation Guide and the Assessment Form for Study Groups are for evaluation and assesment, before and after the literature circle process.

The links below should take you directly to the role sheets. Most of them are in PDF format, so you can print them out and make copies for your class. The ones that aren’t in PDF format can easily be converted to Word documents and if you are willing to take the time to create a Word document and if you are willing to do that, you might as well customize it for your class.

Literary Luminary

Discussion Director





Vocabulary Enricher

Travel Tracer

Word Smith

Line Lighter

Book Mark


Vocabulary Extender

For additional literature circle role sheets try to pick up a copy of Literature Circle Role Sheets for Fiction and Nonfiction Books, by Christine Boardman Moen.

Laura Candler has a few ideas on how to “mix it up” in the classroom with literature circles. She offers six different variations or flavors of literature circles. My favorite one is the Talking Sticks model. In this model, the students fill out a response bookmark each day and jot down questions through out the week in preparation for when the group meets on Friday. Another favorite of mine, is the non-fiction literature circle. In this model, the students meet on reading days and meeting days. On reading days they meet together to read together and jot down notes. After they finish reading the book, the students have a meeting day. Use the discussion cards to guide the students when they meet. She provides an example of what the discussion cards should look like here.  Laura has also graciously provided a reading response question PDF and  a non-fiction journal prompt PDF too.

While were at it, why not take it a step farther? ReadWriteThink has a fabulous resource that uses media literacy. It dovetails perfectly with ESL standards. It’s called Literature Circle Roles Reframed: Reading as a Film Crew. The role sheets and lesson plans are provided. Also, check out the comment section for important feedback from other teachers who have tried it.

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