Preprinted version. Published in Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Volume 55, Issue 1, September 1, 2011, pages 15-24.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1598/JAAL.55.1.2.
In a six-week literature circle unit in a tenth-grade classroom, one group of students discussed Dorothy Allison's novel Bastard out of Carolina. By criteria frequently used to judge the quality of discussion, this literature circle was successful. However, several key moments are highlighted that point to the limits of literature circles as they are typically implemented for engaging students in the full critical depth of multicultural and political texts. Finally, suggestions are offered for rethinking literature circle pedagogy with the goal of offering students a more nuanced and robust experience with such texts.
English Language and Literature