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Lesson Plan

Accountable Book Clubs: Focused Discussions

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Grades 7 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Darla Salay

Burlington, New Jersey


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



Classroom book clubs traditionally involve student-led discussions about books, but often teachers feel that these clubs need more direction and accountability. In this lesson, students in grades 7 and 8 form literature circle groups and read either Esperanza Rising or Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Mu駉z Ryan. Students read sections of their book and use a Critical Thinking Map to then guide group discussions about prominent social issues. Students complete collaborative homework using a class wiki. Groups join for a culminating discussion evaluated by their classmates.

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Critical Thinking Map: This handout helps students summarize their group抯 thoughts on a particular social issues that emerged in the reading of the book.

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Grisham, D.L., & Wolsey, T.D. (2006). Recentering the middle school classroom as a vibrant learning community: Students, literacy, and technology intersect. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49(8), 648-660.

  • By participating in online discussions, students examine literature through more critical lenses, while engaging in new learning technologies.

  • The teacher's role is transformed by technology, which enables the scaffolding of instruction through participation in online discussions.

  • Literature is the starting place for students' exploration of social issues.

  • The content of the curriculum can be restructured to move students toward greater understanding and empathy for others.


Busching, B., & Slesinger, B.A. (2002). "It's Our World Too": Socially Responsive Learners in Middle School Language Arts. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

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