19 Fun Literature Circle Roles for 5th Grade (with Book List)

Here you will find a quality list of literature circle roles for 5th grade students.

Literature circles, similar to book clubs, prompt students to express ideas, analyze literacy concepts, collaborate with peers, and apply reading skills.

These literature circle roles for 5th grade learners will motivate even your most reluctant readers to particpate.

So include a selection of these literature circle roles for 5th grade students into your book clubs.

Literature Circle Roles for 5th Grade Students

Use the following list of literature circle roles for 5th grade students to spark discussion among learners during book clubs.

1. Character Critic

Great for analyzing characters, the Character Critic’s primary duties include observing and evaluating how one or more characters change throughout a book.

Nonfiction books such as biographies and autobiographies lend themselves very well to this fifth grade literature circle role.

2. Connector

The Connector makes and records text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections that will help the group understand the story on a deeper level.

  • Text-to-Self – Parts of the text that remind the reader of himself/herself in some way
  • Text-to-Text – The book reminds the reader of another book with a similar significant “something”
  • Text-to-World – Something in the book reminds the reader of a real-world situation

3. Fact Finder

The Fact Finder records interesting facts about the book topic and shares them with the group.

Ideally, fifth graders should be able to write at least 5 facts.

4. Graphic Designer

This 5th grade literature circle role is great for differentiating and providing student choice.

The Graphic Designer has the opportunity to choose any graphic organizer that he or she wants to fill out and share with group members.

To save time, have a variety of graphic organizers already copied for your fifth graders.

5. Inference Detective

Prove it!…That’s what the Inference Detective must do.

The Inference Detective infers information from the reading based on pictures and word clues from the text in addition to the characters’ actions/words. He or she must then provide evidence from the book to support those inferences.

If the evidence is based on prior knowledge, the Inference Detective must record and explain his/her reasoning very clearly to the group.

6. Literary Luminary

The Literary Luminary examines figurative language, vivid descriptions, and interesting uses of parts of speech (such as strong verbs).

This is a great literature circle role for that fifth grader who has a way with words and who will be eager to share with the group how the author uses special language to bring the story to life.

7. Math Specialist

Integrating literacy and math is easy with this 5th grade literature circle role.

The Math Specialist has the task of using some of the characters and any relevant information from the book to create 1 or 2 math word problems.


If the literature circle group is reading a nonfiction book about reducing wastes and recycling, the Math Specialist may share a graph with the group showing how recycling has reduced wastes over a certain period of time.

8. News Reporter

Retelling the story or a significant scene/part of the story using the 5 Ws + How is the News Reporter’s main job.

Challenge your advanced 5th grade students to generate higher-leveled 5W questions.

9. Question Guru

The Question Guru creates and/or ask questions that will help group members understand the text better.

The QAR or Question-Answer Relationship reading strategy facilitates fifth grade learners in categorizing questions into four groups:

  • Right There” -answers that can be found easily within the text.
  • Think and Search” – answers can be found in the text but require a bit more looking around.
  • Author and Me” – Require students to infer the answers based on clues from the text.
  • On My Own” – Answers not found in the text but based solely on the prior knowledge and experiences of the reader.

Encourage the Question Guru to use this list of literature circle questions to prompt discussion among group members.

10. Quizzler

Your collection of literature circle roles for fifth graders isn’t complete with The Quizzler.

He or she creates a true/false, short multiple-choice, or fun game-type quiz or assessment for the group.

11. Reading/Writing Connector

As the Reading/Writing Connector reads, he or she takes note of any writing strategies that the author uses to make the writing more powerful and/or easily understood by the reader.

He or she then shares these writing strategies with the group, pointing them out in the book.

Group members now have a bank of strategies they can refer to during independent writing time of Writer’s Workshop.

12. Researcher

If you’ve got a 5th grader who asks a million questions and is curious about everything, then the Researcher literature circle role is for her.

The Researcher’s main job is to dig up background information about the author, book theme (s), historical references ~ anything relevant to the topic of the book.

She or he gathers information from a variety of reliable resources and shares findings with the literature circle group.

This advanced literature circle role is a perfect addition to 5th grade book clubs.

13. Sketch Artist

While reading, the Sketch Artist sketches a drawing related to a particular scene, chapter, character, or symbol that represents a common theme. He or she may add a few labels and captions if desired.

The fun part is having group members guess what part of the text the Sketch Artist chose to draw.

Afterwards, the Sketch Artist confirms the group’s predictions by explaining his sketches.

14. Summarizer (Fiction)

A classic 5th grade literature circle role, the Summarizer writes a summary that includes the most important information from the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

15. Summarizer (Non-fiction)

With non-fiction texts, the fifth grade Summarizer literature circle role takes the main ideas from each part of the chapter, section, or book and writes a summary using those statements.

16. Symbolism Seeker

  • What’s the “Big Message” in the book or chapter?
  • What are the big themes or ideas?
  • Is the author trying to teach me anything?

These are questions that the Symbolism Seeker must answer in some way, shape, or form.

This 5th grade literature circle role requires a lot of deep thinking.

17. Text Feature Analyzer

An important skill in comprehending nonfiction texts is analyzing text features.

Text features include, but are not limited to bold text, italics, an index, captions, headings, labeled diagrams, and table of contents.

A Text Feature Analyzer searches for and analyzes how the author uses text features to help the reader understand the text better.

He or she then shares that information with the book club.

18. Wild Card

The “Wild Card” 5th grade literature circle role chooses to share with her group any reading comprehension activity or strategy.

19. Word Whiz

Last but not least in this list of literature circle roles for 5th grade students is the Word Whiz.

Always on the lookout for interesting vocabulary, his/her main duty is explaining to the group how he used context clues to learn unfamiliar words.

Additionally, he identifies multiple-meaning words from the text, explaining the various definitions.

5th Grade Literature Circle Books

After deciding on a few literature circle roles for 5th grade book clubs, choose a high-interest book for them to explore.

You’re sure to find a good fit using the following list of literature circle books, selected especially with fifth graders in mind.

  • Animals in the House: A History of Pets and People (Sheila Keenan)
  • Absolutely Normal Chaos (Sharon Creech)
  • Anastasia Krupnik (Lois Lowry)
  • Babe: The Gallant Pig (Dick King-Smith)
  • Bandit’s Moon (Paul Fleischman)
  • Be Good to Eddie Lee (Virginia Fleming)
  • Because of Winn-Dixie (Kate DiCamillo)
  • The Best School Year Ever (Barbara Robinson)
  • Bingo Brown and the Language of Love (Betsy Byars)
  • Bonesy and Isabel (Michael Rosen)
  • The Boys Start the War (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson)
  • Building a Bridge (Lisa Shook Begaye)
  • Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
  • Collector of Moments (Quint Buchholz)
  • Daphne’s Book (Mary Downing Hahn)
  • Do Not Open: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Best-Kept Secrets (John Farndon)
  • Don’t Call Me Beanhead (Susan Wojchiechowski)
  • Drylongso (Virginia Hamilton)
  • Emeril’s There’s a Chef in My World!: Recipes That Take You Places (Emeril Lagasse)
  • Finding Buck McHenry (Alfred Slote)
  • Flags (Maxine Trottier)
  • The Flip-flop Girl (Katherine Paterson)
  • Freckle Juice (Judy Blume)
  • The Friendship (Mildred Taylor)
  • The Girls Get Even (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)
  • Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes (Pamela S. Turner)
  • The Grapes of Math (Gregory Tang, Harry Briggs)
  • Henry and Ribsy (Beverly Cleary)
  • How Basketball Works (Keltie Thomas, Greg Hall)
  • Hurricane Force: In the Path of America’s Deadliest Storms (Joseph B. Treaster)
  • Josepha: A Prairie Boy’s Story (Jim McGugan)
  • Just Like New (Ainslie Manson)
  • Loudmouth George (Nancy Carlson)
  • My Librarian Is a Camel: How Books Are Bought to Children Around the World (Margriet Ruurs)
  • Nadia’s Hands (Karen English)
  • Next-Door Neighbors (Sarah Ellis)
  • Nobiah’s Well (Donna Guthrie)
  • The Orphan Boy (Tololwa M. Mollel)
  • The Pennywhistle Tree (Doris Buchanan Smith)
  • Pick Me Up: Stuff You Need to Know (Jeremy Leslie, David Roberts)
  • The Pinballs (Betsy Byars)
  • Pink and Say (Patricia Polacco)
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (Beverly Cleary)
  • Roald Dahl’s series
  • The Ruins of Gorlan (John Flanagan)
  • Runaway Home (Patricia McKissack)
  • The Scarecrow and His Servant (Philip Pullman, Peter Bailey)
  • The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods (Ann Cameron)
  • Show; Don’t Tell: Secrets of Writing (Josephine Nobisso)
  • The Sisters Grimm series (Michael Buckley)
  • Skellig (David Almond)
  • Smoky Night (Eve Bunting)
  • Snow Wings (Jutta Goetze)
  • Solo Girl (Andrea Davis Pinkney)
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Judy Blume)
  • Thank You, Jackie Robinson (Barbara Cohen)
  • To JayKae: Life Stinks (Jean Davies Okimoto)
  • Tomas and the Library Lady (Pat Mora)
  • The True Meaning of SmekDay (Adam Rex)
  • The Water Horse (Dick King-Smith, David Parkins)
  • What Happened On Planet Kid (Jane Leslie Conly)
  • What’s a Daring Detective like Me Doing in the Doghouse? (Linda Bailey)

Try These Literature Circle Roles for 5th Grade Learners

Challenge students to extend their comprehension skills using these literature circle roles for 5th grade students.

Coupled with one of the literature circle fifth grade books from the list, your book clubs are sure to be a success.