The Discussion Leader will be responsible for coming up with questions about the story. About five of the questions should be aimed at checking the group’s comprehension of the text, which means that they should be rather specific and easy to answer if you have read and understood the story. Another five questions should be more open-ended, perhaps about themes or issues not directly related to the plot or characters. They may come from your personal reactions to the story as you read it.
The Summarizer will be responsible for drafting a summary of the story, which will help refresh the group’s memory (if they read it a while back). You should be sure to include the important events, moments or other information necessary to fully understand the reading. Try to identify the plot(s), any subplots, and the general tone of the story. You should try to be as brief, but complete, as possible: your summary should last from one to two minutes.
The Passage Person will be responsible for selecting 3 or 4 interesting, important or complex passages from the story to share with the group. You should come to the group prepared to speak about why each one is important to the plot, character development or even for stylistic/linguistic reasons. Be prepared to ask the group a question or two about each passage to help everyone reflect on the important or surprising character of them.
The Wordsmith will be responsible for identifying about 10 words, expressions or phrases in the story and then explaining them to the group with a simple definition of their use in the context in which they appear. Make sure that you can quickly tell the group where they are in the text. You may choose them because of their difficulty, importance to the story, or simply because you thought they were surprising.
The Characterizer will have a responsibility similar to that of the Summarizer, but will speak to the group specifically about all the characters of the story, both main characters and minor ones. You will need to be as detailed as possible with your descriptions, which should be both physical and emotional.
The Culture Collector will have a very important responsibility. When you have this role, you will need to try to identify different elements of the story that provide information about the culture of the United States and the people and groups that constitute it. What can we learn from this story in relation to the general theme of this year’s reading circle? You may want to mention language, ideas, values, or anything else related to culture. You should be prepared to comment on at least three cultural elements present in the story.