Creative Book Reports

It is the last day of our teaching creatively blog hop and today’s topic is “hands-on projects”. I am the first to admit, I am not a huge hands-on kind of girl when it comes to most subjects. I love using science books that have a lot of ideas for experiments and projects, as well as using lapbooks for history because they make it easy for me!! One area where I do like to get creative is when it comes to book reports! I like to give my kids options outside of a typical report, options that appeal to their other learning strengths.

For my son’s most recent report, on the book Alas Babylon, he decided to do a project where he had to draw 5 pictures that represented the most important scenes in the book. For each picture, he had to write a paragraph explaining what the picture was and why it was important. For a project like this, I look to see what scenes he chose as important. I feel like that can give me a good sense of how well he “got” the book. If he read it in a cursory manner, he will pick scenes that are more “surface” oriented, and not necessarily truly central to the story. These are some of his pictures from this project:

The bombs:

The check the main character received which enabled him to get supplies so he could help everyone deal with the crisis:

The market where they got supplies (and prices went up considerably after the bombs)

This is a sample of what he did for this particular project. Other projects he and my younger son have done in the past are to make “Wanted posters” for some of the characters in their book. They had to draw a picture, state what they had done, where they were last seen, describe their behavior etc. Making a “map” of the book is another great project. Have your child create a map of the action of in the book. On the map they should draw or mark 5-10 places that were central to the action of the book. They should then write a paragraph (or explain orally) about what the place is, what happened there, and why it is important to the book.

I have also had my kids create a “presidential campaign” for the main character of the book. For this campaign they had to create a poster with a slogan, write a speech from that character’s point of view etc. My older son enjoys creative writing so one of his favorite projects is to write a “diary” from a character’s point of view. In the diary I ask him to describe the events of the book as though he were that character, in their words with their emotions.

When I was teaching some of the favorite projects among my female students were to plan a “party” for one of the characters in the book. Based on what they had learned about the character in their reading, they had to choose a theme for the party, create an invitation, guest list etc. The girls also liked the project where they wrote “letters” to and from the main characters of the book. Basically, they wrote the letters as if they were the characters discussing what had happened. I also had one project where they created their own paper dolls based on the book. They had to create different “storyboards” that represented different times in the book, then create clothes for their character and finally explain (again, orally or in writing) what was taking place.

When I do these projects with my kids (much like I did in my classroom) I try to give them a choice of projects that appeal to different learning styles. So, there is usually one project that may deal with writing, one that deals with something artistic, and one that involves building something or speaking. That way, they can choose the one they are most excited about, and when they do, they are usually motivated to do their project on their own. Projects like this also allow students who are excellent readers and really love books but may not be so great at the pencil and paper stuff a chance to show what they learned in a way that works for them.

Those are the types of projects my kids do at home. Do you have any great project ideas I might be able to use? If so, leave me a message in the comments. To see what other Crew members hands-on project ideas are, click here:

I hope you have enjoyed this blog hop, I have had so much fun! Thanks for joining us!

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