There are mixed opinions on book reports. Some may enjoy reading the assigned material and presenting their opinions and knowledge to the rest of their classmates. However, the majority of students will dread the traditional book report right from the minute they begin reading to the point they anxiously share the reports or have to listen through their classmates discuss the same thing over and over again in the same fashion. Even teachers must admit that monotony gets boring afterwhile. With the onset of new teaching ideas and new technology, book reports can be transformed into all sorts of media, meaning that no project is like the other.
CARTOONS AND COMICS: This is really helpful for students who are visual learners are who get more engaged with visual aids. There are many sites on the Internet that allow you to make your own comic book or cartoon in which a student may create the character and plot and watch the story unfold. To add a twist, students could create completely different characters and scenarios but base their stories along the plot or key points in the story.
ACTING AND BROADCASTING: For the talkative and creative children, making a film or audio segment on the book can be interesting to make and present. The students can act out the story in front of a video camera or, like the comic book idea, revamp the story altogether so it’s fit for the stage or the television. Students can announce the events in the book as if they are currently happening like an announcer would over the radio. Using both TV and radio, students can conduct interviews with other classmates impersonating the author or protagonists and antagonists and what their motives are.
TIMELINES: Allow the students to organize all the events into one timeline and have the elaborate on specific events. This will also show the educator how involved the student was with the reading and how well they understood it.
ALTERNATE ENDINGS: This activity is certainly geared for the imaginative child who enjoys writing. Perhaps one didn’t like how the plot was resolved. Suggest that they write an ending that they see fit.
DISCUSSION: Maybe a break from forming any kind of tangible project is what students really like. Have each person mentally prepare their favorite or least favorite parts of the book and have them share it in a round circle with the class. This could spark friendly debates and opinions that engage everybody.
PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS: Perhaps there are students who like to think with pictures rather than words. Have them draw out what goes through their mind as they read the book.
WORD COLLAGE: Write the title of the book on a sheet of paper and give the students magazines and newspapers to find words that are relevant to the book to glue to the paper. Make it a class effort or individual.
The ways in which an educator can make sharing book reports more engaging and exciting are endless. One of the best ways for a student to really enjoy it and form a personal connection is to give them plenty of options for media and allow them to pick and choose which ones they like the best. You can guarantee that projects will be more fun to share and more fun to listen to, for both the student and educator!
“10 Technology Enhanced Alternatives to Book Reports”: http://teaching.monster.com/benefits/articles/8529-10-technology-enhanced-alternatives-to-book-reports
“Classroom Activities: 25 Book Report Alternatives”: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/classroom-activities-25-book-report-alternatives
“Fifty Alternatives to the Book Report”: www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/…/EJ0871Ideas.pdf