Book reports are often necessary for assessing your students' comprehension skills. They don't all have to follow the same tired format, however. Liven up book reports by giving your students more than one option. Not only will they appreciate the variety, but this will also give those students with different learning styles a chance to shine.
Main Character Recitation
Ask the students to dress up as the main character from the book and give an oral, first-person account of their adventures in the story. Encourage the students to ask questions, as this will help the student practice his inference skills, which you can also grade. Design a rubric so the student knows what to cover in his report. For example, he might need to mention other characters by name, major plot points and the setting.
Ask the students to write a sequel to the story rather than giving a written report on the first story. This could be as short as a paragraph -- you could call it an epilogue -- or a complete story with chapters (for more advanced students). Remind them to include a brief summary of what happened in the last story.
Tell the students to create a new book jacket for the book. They must design a cover and summarize the book on the left inside flap. You might also have them write about the author on the right inside flap. Use pieces of 9-by-12-inch construction paper for the jackets. This is also a good activity to do in small groups.
See how well your students can concisely summarize a story by creating a picture book. This is a good activity for older elementary students who are reading chapter books. Have them create a picture book out of the chapter book, complete with illustrations. Then, take the books to a lower grade in the school and read them aloud to the younger students.
Letter to the Author
Instruct the students to write a letter to the author detailing their responses to the book. This works best for authors that are still alive, because you can actually mail their letters. It's also a good tie-in to a language art lesson on letter writing. Tell the students to include what they liked about the book, what they didn't like about the book (and why) and what they learned from the book.
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