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Literacy Circles: The Oprah Winfrey Effect

Posted by Dreu Adams on Jun 28, 2011 9:00:00 AM

literacy circlesOne of my Facebook friends posted a question in light of the final episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show. He asked,

"Oprah is seen as having great influence and impact on our world. I’m interested, how has Oprah impacted your life?”

Now, as you can imagine, there were several smart-aleck comments to follow, but I found the question pretty interesting. By influencing so many, how had she impacted me personally? And then I thought about her contribution to reading, book clubs, and how it helped encourage literature circles in schools.

Oprah Winfrey and Chicago author/teacher Harvey Daniels have been instrumental in getting student-led book clubs started in schools and elsewhere. Literature Circles are small groups (usually four or five students) that select a book to read, establish an independent reading and meeting schedule, and then get together to discuss the book. Many teachers have indicated that it has worked wonders for their classes, in terms of establishing good reading habits.

Literature circles are a great reading comprehension strategy if you’re looking to accomplish the following with your students:

  • Improve reading comprehension, comfort and appreciation of literature.
  • Improve student ability to think critically about their reading and articulate those ideas in various ways.
  • Convince students that reading is a life-long, acceptable activity in our society and that books actually exist that they’ll enjoy.

So as Harvey Daniels has said himself, we all owe great thanks to Oprah for making “…a lasting contribution to our national literacy.” Teachers can find information and support at Daniels’ website at

Marygrove’s Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) K-6 Reading Comprehension Best Practices offers Literature Circles as one of a dozen strategies you could implement in your classroom today.

Download K-6 Reading Comprehension Best Practices and find out what every teacher could be doing to foster better reading and comprehension strategies.

-Dreu Adams, Director of eCommerce Marketing
Marygrove College, Detroit

Download our K-6 Reading Comprehension B

Tags: Literacy Circles, reading comprehension, Classroom Reading Strategies, Literacy, Urban Literacy

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