How to run a reading circle

Happy reading groups image with logo

Adapted from article by Angie Simms- NATECLA News, Autumn 2010 and inspired by Oxford Bookworms. With thanks to Jenny Roden.

Looking to experiment with your reading group?

The reading circle is an exciting new approach which could enhance your reading group meetings. Originally designed for English language learners, the model can be applied to any reading group who wants to get creative with their approach.

The model breaks down the group into five specific roles, which have been designed to replicate the whole reading process, exploring different elements of the book and helping to stimulate discussion.

If there are more than five people in your group, it’s not a problem – these roles can easily be shared between people or passed on after every chapter. The roles should be given out ahead of reading the book and members are encouraged to take on a different role each week, in order to experience the book from a variety of perspectives.

During the meeting, each member shares their ideas with the group to open up wider and more detailed discussion.

The roles are as follows:

“The Leader” – facilitates the discussion, preparing some general questions and ensuring that everyone is involved and engaged.

“The Summariser” – gives an outline of the plot, highlighting the key moments in the book. More confident readers can touch upon its strengths and weaknesses.

“The Word Master” – selects vocabulary that may be new, unusual, or used in an interesting way.

“The Passage Person” – selects and presents a passage from that they feel is well written, challenging, or of particular interest to the development of the plot, character, or theme.

“The Connector” – draws upon all of the above and makes links between the story and wider world. This can be absolutely anything; books, films, newspaper articles, a photograph, a memory, or even a personal experience, it’s up to you. All it should do is highlight any similarities or differences and explain how it has brought about any changes in your understanding and perception of the book.

What are you waiting for? Try out this model now.

For more information, advice and activities, visit here
(visitors will need to register to access the detailed information)

Get involved.

Already tried this model? Let us know how it worked for you. Get in touch via our Twitter and Facebook. Or email us at

Is your reading group signed up to Reading Groups for Everyone? Join now to get more information on running a reading group, brilliant offers and competitions for your reading group and more.


Podcasts for Book Lovers

We’ve put together a list of our favourite reading related podcasts for you to enjoy. From celebrity storytelling to a tour of the fascinating connections between Shakespeare and the world around us, there should be something to suit all tastes.

Medium group 2

How to start a reading group

Interested in joining a reading group or starting one of your own? Download our quick guide to getting started.

Thumb reading between the wines with books  2

Books to Make You Laugh and Cry #NRGD18

National Reading Group Day takes place on Saturday 16 June, in association with the Booksellers Association, and we think there could be no better time to celebrate reading groups in libraries, bookshops and communities around the country.

Medium laugh and cry jackets twitter 1200