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Fifth Grade Book Group Tips and Grading Rubric

By tstyles

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.

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.

Grading Rubric



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) _______

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.