Bergen / York Reading Research Group (BYRRG)
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
June 2015 - June 2025
This project will take the Literature Circles approach (www.litcircles.org) and develop it with two cohorts of undergraduate students, in transnational contexts, in the United Kingdom and Norway. Both sets of undergraduate students are studying literature within Education contexts, with the destination of teaching in the future.
Literature Circles have been widely used in US school settings (Burda, 2000; Clarke & Holwadel, 2007; Peralta-Nash & Dutch, 2000; Wilfong, 2009) to develop school students’ interactions with texts. Literature circles combine collaborative learning with student-centered inquiry. They are a structured approach to analyzing texts that supports students to take responsibility for their own learning, making choices and developing their thinking about texts. The approach encourages students to take charge of their own discussions, hold each other accountable for how much or how little reading to do, and for the preparation for each session. The positive peer pressure created by the approach is key to students’ contributions and to individuals having accountability to the rest of the group.
In this project, developing the Literature Circles approach in an undergraduate setting will be an area which offers undergraduate students a structured approach through which to develop their independence and confidence with dealing with young adult fiction, and in developing their understanding of pedagogical approaches to texts that they may use in the future. Both cohorts of students will read three key young adult texts, written in English, and work in parallel using the Literature Circles approach. The students will also liaise via social media over the texts and develop their understandings of the text in parallel, European contexts.
Methodology and data collection
Cohort: 25 students in Norway, 25 students in the United Kingdom, approximately 19 to 22 years old.
Time Frame: January – May 2016
Questionnaires administered to students prior to the literature circles approach to explore understanding of pedagogical approaches to texts. Two cohorts follow the same approach to the same texts at an approximately parallel timetable. During the work with the literature circles, students will liaise with their international counterparts, discussing elements of the texts and their developing understanding of the social issues in the texts. After the administration of the approach, all students will then take a second questionnaire and some semi-structured interviews will be undertaken by the researchers, together, in both institutions.
Reporting the project
May-July: Data Analysis
Outputs: Joint International Conference presentation, two joint papers