41 Ways to Go Beyond the Book Report by Erika Saunders

I came across this post on byrdseed.com and thought it might be useful to those of us who are looking for new and interesting ways to get our students to interact with books. Take a look, you never know when you are going to find that gem that hooks a student in and ignites her curiousity and creativity!

The following is a guest post written by Erika Saunders. Visit her blog or follow her on Twitter @rozelialives. Interested in writing a guest post? Send me an email at ian@byrdseed.com! I’d love to set something up!

I have never been a fan of the “Book Report”, the traditional listing of characters, settings, and plots. Surely there’s a better way to have students relate to the books they read.

So, when the powers-that-be requested that our students write book reports, I just had to jump in – or rather, I was volunteered. In any event, there I was convinced that therewas something better, another way that would be interesting to 6ththrough 8th graders. And so I began to list all the things I could do after reading a book.

Then, something wonderful happened. I began having all kinds of neat, interesting ideas. The more I thought about it, the more ideas came. And not just ideas butways to approach the ideas: monthly themes and kids’ choice.You could even have students develop their own ideas.

So, here is the list I created as my mind delved deeper and deeper – some I’ve gotten from some really creative teachers – thanks Ian! – others I’ve done with my students.I consider it a work-in-progress and look forward to continually adding to it.

The beauty is that there really are no limits. We just have to allow ourselves to think “outside of the book report”.

◦Make a CD/Soundtrack for the movie with an explanation for each song choice

◦Create a 30-second movie commercial/trailer podcast

◦Make a PowerPoint presentation

•Why this should be a movie


•TV series idea

•Abridged version of the book

◦Design a room that a character would have

◦Make a new book cover with a “write-up” and short pitch on why this should be the new cover

◦Turn the book into a short play

◦Create a fan blog

◦Design a Movie Poster

◦Write a letter to the head of a production company convincing them to make a movie

◦Write a letter to the “Fan Club” of the book

◦Create an “Interview with the Author”

◦Be a Talk Show Host interviewing the author

◦Rewrite the story using a new setting

◦Tell the story through a different character

•Dress up like the character and retell the story

•Write a summary from that character’s point-of-view

◦Be a Costume Designer for the movie version

◦Be the Set Designer for the movie version

◦Create a Graphic Novel version of the book

◦Create your own summary of what you think the sequel should be

◦Create a rap/song summary

◦Create the TV Show theme song

◦Illustrate the book

◦Make a documentary

◦Be a newscaster reporting the story

◦Make an audition video fora part in the movie

◦Record a voice-over

◦Describe the conflict/problem as a sport’s play

◦Create a Jeopardy game based on the book

◦Cast the movie/TV show

◦Link a real social/societal problem that relates to the story

◦Create a theme list and include books that fit into the theme

◦Create a photo album based on the book

◦Create a magazine based on the book

◦Write an advice column for the characters

◦Be the author’s editor– change one part to make the book better

◦Re-write it as a children’s book

Erika Saunders is a Special Education and Mentally Gifted Teacher for grades 6th through 8thgrade at an inner-city school in Philadelphia. For more of her quirky views on life, visit her blog: http://theytoldme2write.blogspot.com/ or follow her on Twitter: @rozelialives.


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