In an age of PSPs, Xbox, anime, and gaming arcades, reading has lost its foothold in the list of hobbies that children tend to cite. Most of the reading that kids do today comes in the form of compulsory books that they need to read for school, and maybe that is the reason they find reading to be an insurmountable and boring task. If you want to inculcate the love for languages and literary masterpieces in your students, and want them to devour books everyone should read, then a good way of going about the same would be to get them to start working on creative book reports. While working on creative ideas for book reports, your students will have to understand the book in a way that allows them to come up with new ways to present to the class, the essence of the book.
As a teacher, while egging your students to activate their creative gray cells, you will have to help them out with basic ideas that they can work on. Depending on the age bracket that your students belong to, the book report ideas will vary. This is so not just because of the varying attention spans that children of various age groups possess, but also because of the amount of work that kids can put into the report. While a middle school student will be comfortable handling a handy-cam, a student from elementary school will be more fascinated if he is working with paints and puppets. So, in this article, we will list out a couple of good ideas for elementary students and for middle school students.
Ideas for Elementary School
- Book Report Sandwich:
A book report sandwich is a good creative idea for book reports. As a teacher, you can get drawings of a sandwich on sheets of paper that are of the color of the ingredients of your sandwich, for example, a cream sheet of paper to resemble mayonnaise, red to represent tomato, and likewise. Obviously, each ingredient should be cut in a way that when assembled together, it looks like a sandwich. Now, give each of your students one of these book sandwiches to create their book report. It can start with the name of the book and the author's name on the top slice of the sandwich. The second ingredient can have the summary of the book on it. Each subsequent ingredient can have a description of the main characters, the setting of the book, the plot, and then his or her views about the book. Once they are done with their book reports, they can staple the book sandwich together, and you can create a class bulletin board with all the book report sandwiches on display.
- Oral Retelling:
One of the good techniques to retell a story, this is also one of the favorite ideas among students. The job that the student will have is to read the book, and then pick a few objects at home that will allow him/her to retell the story in a way that makes it interesting for the audience. Every time he/she picks out an object from the bag to report the book, there has to be a valid connection between the book and the object, which the student can first ask the audience to guess, and then go ahead and explain it. This idea is spin-off on the normal show and tells and allows for an interactive book report session.
- Act it Out:
This is one of the most creative ideas for book reports in which, as the teacher, you will have to divide your class into groups and give them one book each. The students can then read the book, get together, write a play, and then act it out for the class. To give a deeper insight into the book, one of the students can play the role of the author, and as a group, the students can try and recreate the thought process of the author. The student playing the role of the author can then interrupt the play at important junctures, and talk about the reasons for these twists in the play and how he/she came up with these plot lines.
- Know your Author:
As young adults, your students' fascination may go beyond the immediate concerns of the book. He/she may want to understand the circumstances in which the book was written, the times then, the events happening in the world, etc., and get the author's perspective about the book. Encourage your students to think on those lines. Divide the class into pairs and give each pair one book to read. Let them then don the roles of the author and a journalist. You can have an interview session in front of the class, enabling them to dissect the book and get a peek into the author's world.
- Lights, Camera, Action:
In a technology-obsessed world, it may be a very tiny minority of your class that does not get excited with the prospect of shooting a film. You will need to divide the class into groups, and give them at least two months to adapt the book that they have been assigned into a film. The movie should have a well-adapted screenplay, and all the other prerequisites, like a lighting engineer, sound engineer, costume designer, etc. At the end of the given time, the film can be screened in front of the class, and then discussed.
- Behind the Scenes:
If you are on the lookout for good individual ideas, then this one could be for you. Assign every student a book, and then ask them to start maintaining a diary, from the author's point of view. Ask them to come up with imaginary incidents from the author's life, and use historical events to explain why the author wrote the book in a certain manner. Alternately, you can also ask your students to give a surrogate ending to the story.