First, the role sheets serve an important purpose in the planning your students need to do in order to have conversation about their books. This is the most important part of literature circles, in my opinion, and it's what makes them so rigorgous. Students must read and think about what they'd like to discuss with their group. In an adult book club, you would hope everyone would come to the book club with their own ideas and selections they'd like to discuss. For our students, the role sheets are the proof that they did that thinking.
The pitfall with the role sheets is that you may have students just reading from their role sheets and not actually discussing any of the points other students are making. This is a problem. What I want to hear from my students is natural conversations. Things like "oh! That reminds me...." or "Yeah, I wanted to talk about that too!" And I don't think you get that when students just read their notes.
Another problem is that students may focus just on their role (summarizer, questioner, connector) and forget that good readers do ALL of those roles in concert. It's important for good readers to do the work of predicting, questioning for comprehension and summarizing every time they read.
So when my groups began their literature circles, I told them that they role sheets were temporary. After a few meetings, when they knew how the literature circle was suppose to work, I was going to take the role sheets away. I met with the group and gave them a stack of sticky notes to mark their ideas. I told them they would use these sticky notes in place of the role sheets.
From Tuck Everlasting
From The City of Ember
In these stickies, they did the work of connecting, predicting and questioning. And for the most part, their conversations were productive and natural. I just couldn't help but feeling that we went from a highly structured planning sheet to a completely unstructured plan. It didn't feel right to just toss stickies at them and expect that they would come to their group well prepared for discussion. I wanted some structure, but something that would encourage them to use all of their reading strategies. So I made them book marks!
Fonts by Tonya'sTreatsforTeachers
You should be able to run that page through your printer twice to get 2 double sided bookmarks every time you print. (Note:I changed illumination to illustration)