Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Historical Fiction Book Clubs:
Beginning with Literary Webs

My 5th grade students are about to begin a second round of historical fiction book clubs. This year, in reader's workshop, students have been empowered to "Take Charge" of their reading and writing lives. The first round of book clubs were more structured and guided by the teacher. This time around, I am really pushing for students to be more independent and more in control. Much of our discussion this year in reading has been on pushing ourselves to think beyond a literal level of comprehension. We have talked about how we read differently when we are pushing our thinking as opposed to "just reading."

Historical fiction texts are complex and often complicated. My students will all be reading texts related to the Holocaust. Something that is going to be very important is keeping track of the story elements. Often with texts like these, students become lost in the story or confused with all of the historical details. To help with this, they will continually build on their understanding by tracking story elements as they read with literary webs. 

Literary webs serve several purposes. I have a very diverse group of learners in my classroom. Literary webs will help students who struggle with comprehension AND students that are ready to push their own thinking. Students will track setting changes, characters, emerging themes, symbolism, conflict (person vs. person, person vs. society, and person vs. self), and power (important with historical fiction). 


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