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, here we will list out a couple of good ideas for elementary students and for middle school students.
Ideas for Elementary School
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.
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.
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.
Ideas for Middle School
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.
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.
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.
These are a few options that you could use to inspire your students to come up with creative book reports. Kids tend to be more creative, so encourage your students to think out of the box and appreciate them for their efforts. You have a class that is not only lively and inquisitive by nature, but also one that will cultivate a love for words.