Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Science and University Honors

First Advisor

Barbara Ruben

Abstract

Background: Literature circles at their most basic form are a small group discussion centered around a shared text. They have been present in the literature since the early 1990’s. Today, literature circles are the subject of books, action research projects, and journal articles. Aims: The study aims to gather data on the use of literature circles through a teacher survey and teacher interviews. The goal is to ascertain how middle school teachers in Oregon are using the tool in their classroom, whether they observe positive student engagement in the practice, and to ascertain the areas in which they see literature circles impacting student outcomes. Results:The 26 teachers who completed the survey implemented literature circles with variety. Lesser used practices included utilizing online discussions and nonfiction text. Teachers reported that social emotional learning, comprehension, literacy, and vocabulary outcomes were impacted through literature circles. Discussion: The survey gives an indication that literature circles are not a homogenous practice, but an evolving tool that can be fitted to the needs of students. Literature circles provide the opportunity for rich discussion and connection between subjects and classmates.

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