Book Responses

Nothing kills the enjoyment of a book quicker than having to do a traditional “book report”. Ditto when students watch a movie. Over the years I have had the question “do we have to do anything after watching this?”.

Over the years, using a myriad of websites and reference material, I have devised a number of activities which allow for all learning styles and all abilities. I will endeavour to list a few of my favourites below – in no particular order – but selected because of their popularity. I give the students a list of options, sometimes weighted with a point allocation, just to make sure that students don’t just choose the “easiest” options which don’t challenge their creativity or force them to think deeply about the book.

Paper bag book report – students decorate the front of the bag with a replica or new design of the front cover; the back of the bag with their own blurb; and place inside the bag, 4-5 items which they student is able to link somehow, to the story.
Press conference – Students work in a small group, and take the role of some of the main characters. The rest of the students ask questions of the “characters” as though they are at a press conference. The “characters” must answer the way they think the book character would answer – what they would think, how they would react etc.
Interview – students work in pairs, to write a script in which some probing questions are asked of the main character. One of the students is the interviewer, the other the main character. Students can film this or present it live.
6 box retell – students retell the story, by selecting the 6 key events. Use a timeline of events initially, to select firstly the beginning of the story, then the resolution/conclusion. What happens in between, must be broken into the 4 boxes in the middle. This forces the students to select key events and not rewrite the entire story.
Write a poem – which tells the story
Create a new front cover – and explain why you have selected to include these details
Rewrite the blurb – in your own words
Write 10 questions – which you might ask of the readers. These questions must go beyond the line – causing readers to think about character motivation and underlying causes.
Design a time line – from beginning to end
Design an interactive quiz – using Mystudiyo or the “academic” tab in powerpoint.
Create a photostory – tell the story using photos you can find on creative commons sites, or photos you take yourself
Create a book trailer – as though this book was a movie and you were watching a trailer about it being shown in the cinema soon. Film it.
Create a cartoon– using any of these web 2.0 tools – and retell part of the story.
Bitstrips; Blabberize; Comic Master; Cartoonster; Toondoo; Voki
Create a beautiful word cloud – Use Wordle using words which go part way to explaining themes in the book
Create an online poll – asking opinions about the story or character behaviours etc. Use one of the following online tools to create your poll. Survey monkey; Polldaddy;
; Make an interactive image using thinglink. Select an image which you can connect to the book, then tag it with relevant links that you can make between this book and you, this book and another book or movie, this book and something else that it may remind you of.

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