An investigation of literature circles as a means to promote reading comprehension



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This case study investigated how integrating comprehension strategies within a student centered instructional model such as Literature Circles improved reading comprehension. Research studies have indicated how students involved in Literature Circles have made greater gains in reading comprehension, felt empowered, and discovered how using a strategy helped them comprehend better. The study was conducted in a fifth grade classroom where Literature Circles were a part of daily reading instruction. Research questions centered on the instructional practices of the teacher and students’ perceptions of the instruction along with their personal responses in terms of reading achievement. Data collection included field notes from classroom observations, interviews with the teacher, and interviews with the fifth graders. Findings suggest that students have positive experiences with reading through the use of Literature Circles and they do increase in their ability to understand and use effective reading strategies in order to better comprehend. This study will contribute to the body of educational research in identifying teaching and learning strategies to respond to the literacy needs of students as well as develop best classroom practices specifically related to Literature Circles.