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Replace Boring Book Reports with Projects Kids Love

Jennifer Dobson


Replace Boring Book Reports with Projects Kids LoveDo your traditional book report assignments seem old and tired? Here are some alternative assignments that share the same benefits and instructional results but are infused with fun.

These alternatives can be more appealing and that will give the students a chance to express themselves in alternative ways. Students can complete a book report assignment in artistic formats or in formats that foster good communications skills while still deriving the same benefit from the task.

Bringing Out the Artist in Your Students
Students love to showcase their budding artistic skills and you will be surprised by how much fun your students will have by turning a traditional book report into a work of art. You may find that some students are more clearly able to express what they learned from the book through artwork. Some ideas to get you started:

Create a Picture or Collage of the Book

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Using regular crayons and art stock paper have students illustrate a particular scene from the book, or an event or character that gives a good sense of what the book was about, or what they learned from reading the book.

Have each student present their work in front of the class and explain the scene that they have recreated. Designate one bulletin board in the classroom or outside your classroom door to showcase the pieces when the assignment ends.

Create a Book Jacket

Have students create a book jacket (both inside and outside) that reflects the ideas that they think are most important for the book.

Keep in mind that a book jacket has not only cover art, but also has a summary of the book located on the inside of the jacket, or on the back, or both.

Create Life Size Characters

Based on the books that they read, have students work in groups to create life size characters. Working in pairs, have students trace one another's figure onto a large sheet of paper (like the kind that comes on rolls and is available in art supply stores) and then bring a character from the book to life using crayons, markers, and other mediums.

Create a Comic Book

Have students create a comic strip layout of the book that they have read. Try BitStrips for a free site where students can drag and drop images into comics. It's helpful for those students who don't draw well but want to express themselves visually.

Encouraging Communication
A book report assignment can be just the perfect way to get your students to develop oral communications skills or experience public speaking.

While some students are just natural born "talkers", others, as you know, are more reserved and some are borderline shy. Learning to speak in front of others is a very important skill and learning to effectively communicate with others is just as vital.

You can help students develop or hone their communications skills through alternative book report assignments, such as:

Panel Discussions

Have groups of students read the same book and then discuss the story, plot, characters and more.

Prepare & Present Synopsis

Have students prepare a two-minute synopsis of the book that they have read to present in front of the class. 

You can also have students create "trailers" to introduce the book to others. Try Digital Booktalk to get started.

Character Interviews

Have the class read the same book. Then, interview students, asking them questions about the book as if they are a character in the story. Assign a character to each student, or have several students be the same character, depending on the size of the class and the number of main characters in the book.

Props & Presentations

Have students create props that are related to the story line, and that all fit within a regular sized folder. Have the student give a presentation of the story using their props in front of the class.
Any of these ideas can become a great way to involve your students in the world of reading, and allow them to share their reflections and what they have learned in unique ways.

How do you amp up your study of books or other subjects? Share in the comments section!

About the Author:

Jen Dobson would like you to take a look at one of her favorite online stores for teachers and parents, The offers a huge variety of products including everything from pretend and play toys to curriculum resources like science teacher supplies. Visit today to get 10% off of your first purchase!

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