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Lesson Plan: 10 Book Reports with Style

Not everyone learns in the same way. In fact I would say that each of us gathers, processes and utilizes new learning in a slightly different way. These styles are called learning modalities. Some of us think in words, others in pictures. Some of us ‘color code’ information, some of us think in music. Some are tactile learners and need to touch things. Others are kinesthetic; they need to act out what they learn. This list of modalities is not exhaustive; there are more. And all of us is a unique combination of these modalities.

With that in mind, school projects need to be tailored to a student’s own style. Since we are all different and unique; and we’re not a series of numbers, it is important that everyone be able to produce work in the way that works best for her. Certain criteria and objectives need to be met for assignments, but within the parameters, some options are available. Teachers need to provide options for completion of a book report and students need to find a format that works for them.

Here is a list of ways to complete one type of assignment based upon learning style: the basic book report. In the old days, kids read a book, wrote out a paper consisting of title, author, publishing details, characters, setting, plot summary and often personal evaluation (what I liked and disliked). It must have been pretty dull to read 30 reports on The Boxcar Children. No one felt their work was meaningful. It was more of a competition than collaboration. This method is dull for everyone.

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One major change that I make right away is that each student is responsible for reading and sharing on a different book. While still addressing the basic book report elements imagine this.

Literature Exposition:

Invite parents, family members, younger children and grades to attend. Set up tables for a book museum. Arrange graphic projects on tables. Students stand near their presentation to answer questions. Set up a simple staging area for the performing projects. Serve some food, possibly based upon some books read by students. Have a TV with any taped presentations available to view. Each student shares his presentation based upon his book. Encourage students to dress in their best as representatives. He may choose to:

design a brochure, poster, cartoon strip, newspaper or booklet advertising his book
create a diorama, a miniature representation of scenes from his book
act out a scene from the play
develop a ‘commercial’, ‘newcast’ for the book, filmed with a camcorder or presented live
produce several puzzles, quizzes or graphic organizers to hand out
put on a puppet show
perform a song and/or dance he’s written
dress as a character from the book and give ‘interviews’
prepare a product based upon the book (Our son, as a book report for the Hobbit in 7th grade, made a ‘breakfast cereal’ box called ‘Hobbit Holes’; He used the layout of the box to put in all his information and graphics.)
display a mobile (a branched hanger with objects representing the book).
design a board game based upon the book

Make a video CD of the event to share with those who cannot attend. Invite local senior centers to attend or make it a traveling show and bring it to a nursing home. Ask for a local news photographer to attend. Citizens in a community love to read about positive things the school is doing. Ask the local or school library to keep the projects on display.

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Encourage families to join the reading and development of the project. This can be lots of fun for the family! I had a student who made a newspaper based upon Romeo and Juliet. His mother and aunt had great fun working with him on it! He liked the interaction with them. If you have any different cultures represented, this can be an awesome way to celebrate diversity!