A BIG Idea: Success of Lit Circles Leads to Program Expansion

Lit circles, launched in the 2017–18 school year thanks to a Brandeis Innovation Grant (BIG), have proven so successful that the BIG program has funded its expansion this year to second grade. “Success with third grade lit circles led to the desire to expand the program to second grade,” explains grantee Lori Galante. “This expansion will ultimately make the third grade experience even better.” Lit circles focus on four main skills: preparation, contribution, collaboration, and analytical thinking. “This wouldn’t be possible without the innovation grant, as students receive their own copy of each book which they can annotate and ultimately add to their personal library,” adds Ms. Galante.
Second graders recently began reading the first graphic novel in the Hilo series by author Judd Winick, The Boy Who Crashed to Earth. “I think lit circles are exciting because it’s really fun to discuss the book with your friends because at my house I never have anyone to discuss it with,” says second grader Marion R. “And I’m building my reading skills.” Lit circles provide a meaningful experience for developing literary discourse, enforcing our core values, and applying the principles of social-emotional learning in an academic setting.

The Brandeis Innovation Grant program is made possible by the generosity of a Brandeis family and provides one-time grants to teachers who are interested in trying new strategies or bringing new experiences to our students. To learn how your family can make an impact at Brandeis by supporting the school with a major gift, contact Director of Development Stacy Youkilis at