Beyond the Book Report
8 Classroom Strategies to Foster a Love of Reading

You've heard it before: book reports are boring.
Break away from boring with these book report alternatives from teacher Rebecca English.


Strategy 1: Student Recommendation

Writing a report for a teacher can be intimidating, but students like to communicate with their peers. This project allows them to write with their peers as the intended audience.

Directions:

  1. Examine a book recommendation site like Goodreads or the reader review section of a website.
  2. Discuss the components of a good review. Consider which details are most persuasive.
  3. Write a recommendation using the points discussed.
  4. Compile the recommendations into a magazine for students to take home.

Strategy 2: Mobile Book Report

This strategy helps students identify the components of a book report.

Materials: 1 hanger per student, construction paper, scissors, ribbon or yarn

Directions:

  1. Cut out 8 different shapes. Label each shape with one of these categories:
    • Title & Author of Book
    • Setting
    • Time Period
    • Theme
    • Plot
    • Main Characters
    • Author's Purpose
    • Attention Grabber
  2. Record ideas about each item on the shapes.
  3. Using ribbon or yarn, attach your shapes to the hanger.

Strategy 3: File Folder Book Report

This strategy breaks down the components of a book report and allows students to play with visual elements.

Materials: 1 brightly-colored file folder and 8 gift tags for each student

Directions:

  1. Label each gift tag with the categories listed for the book mobile project above.
  2. Record ideas for each topic on the gift tag
  3. Glue gift tages to the file folders
  4. For added visuals, include a picture of the main character
  5. Add quotes from the book to the file folder

Strategy 4: Visual Story

Translating written narrative into a visual story deepens the student's understanding of the text.

Materials: Oversize white paper, colored pencil crayons

Directions:

  1. Fold paper to create eight squares or panels.
  2. Depict the stories main events within the eight panels.
  3. Display completed stories in the classroom.

Strategy 5: Alternate Book Ending

Creative writing options invite students to connect with the text.

Directions:

  • Rewrite the final scenes or the resolution of the story.
  • Change one character's actions or one event that will affect the outcome of the story.
  • Include scenes in which all of the characters respond to the change in events.

Strategy 6: Six Word Memoir

A combination of visual and creative writing strategies to connect students to the text.

Directions:

  1. Choose six words to describe the storyline for one character
  2. Create a visual collage of the storyline.
  3. Glue the six words over the collage in big bold print.

Strategy 7: Character Letter

Empathy with a character allows students to connect personally with the text.

Directions:

  • Choose two characters from a book.
  • Write a letter from one of those characters to the other expressing how you feel about an event from the story.
  • Make the letter sound realistic, and use details that are not explicitly detailed in the novel.

Strategy 8: Letter to the Author

By asking them to consider the author, this strategy provides students with a real-world connection.

Directions:

  • Write a letter to the author telling them what you liked and didn't like about the plot, characters, setting and theme.
  • Tell the author why you chose the book.
  • Include details about how you connect with the story.

For more ideas for the classroom, check out the educator page.