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Fifth Grade Book Group Tips and Grading Rubric

written by: tstyles • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 6/6/2012

Assessing your students in a literature circle can be tricky. Here are the steps I take to observe the book group and the rubric I use to grade the students.

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    Active Observation of the Book Group

    Fifth graders participating in a book group have first been introduced to this process of discussing literature. It's a meticulous process of modeling and stressing expectations for how these groups will function. It is ongoing, as children always need reminders of the various elements of good book groups.

    During the discussion parts of the literature groups, teachers should walk around and eavesdrop on each group, sometimes offering insight and suggestions, and sometimes simply taking notes as to the observations being made. All of this goes to the formal observation at the end of the book group.

    This formal assessment is based on observations and review of student journals. It includes observation of their listening and participation in the group, as well as their preparedness for literature groups based on what they have done with reading journals.

    Below is the rubric that can be used to assess the children at the conclusion of a literature unit.

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    Grading Rubric

    Name_____________________________

    Date______________________________

    Book title____________________________________

    Works cooperatively with the group (10) _______

    Is prepared for discussion group (20) _______

    Uses active listening (20) _______

    Stays on task during discussion (20) _______

    Maintains daily journals (20) _______

    Completes Book review form (10) _______

    Total Score (100) _______

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    Book Review Form and Self-Assessment

    The last item in the grading rubric refers to a "book review form" This refers to a review the children will complete of the book at the end of the literature unit. On this form, students should state:

    • What the book is about with regards to the basic story elements
    • What their favorite parts of the story were
    • Give the book an overall rating on a scale of 1-10 as to whether they would recommend it to another reader or not, and why.

    Prior to doing my assessment at the end of the book group, I provide each child a copy of the rubric form and have them evaluate themselves.

    In the end, it's interesting to see how the teacher and student assessment results align.

Using Book Groups (or Literature Circles) to Teach Reading

Utilizing book groups, sometimes referred to as literature circles, is a great way to teach reading in the elementary schools. It also helps develop an ongoing love of reading to older elementary students in the fourth and fifth grades.
  1. Using Book Clubs (Literature Circles) in Your Classroom
  2. Modeling Reading Responses for a Classroom Reading Group
  3. The Importance of Carving Out Time to Drop Everything and Read
  4. Fifth Grade Book Group Tips and Grading Rubric