Writing a book report is a rite of passage we’ve all endured. But who says it has to be traditional?
There are easy ways for kids to add some pizzazz to the assignment by relying on their creativity. Make sure to get the teacher’s permission before trying some of these imaginative suggestions together:
Be the Author
Encourage your child to build on the book by writing a different ending or beginning, or by writing about what the characters would be like in the future. She can also create an additional scene, or create a version for younger kids in picture book form.
Before and After
Before your child starts reading her book, have her write a brief report about what she thinks the story will be about based on the cover. Once she’s finished reading it, have her write about what actually happened.
Help your child create an audio review — or podcast — of the book. You can use GarageBand or Audacity, which are both great recording tools. Ideally, if other classmates participate, they can listen to each other’s bookcasts.
Your child can make her own book jacket. This will involve creating cover art and writing a summary. Perhaps inventive blurbs from other authors can also be on the back.
Comics are a creative way to present stories. Your child can draw strips that summarize the book, include dialogue between characters, or create a cartoon character to review the book. If she doesn’t want to freestyle, build a comic using these apps reviewed by Common Sense Media.
Have your child pick a character from the book and create sentences about him based on the alphabet scheme. For example, A is for the Apple that Bobby left on the teacher’s desk. See if she can tell the whole story in alphabetical order.
Encourage your child to put together a collage, using pictures or words. Similarly, she can make a scrapbook with items and pictures important to the story. Your child can include cut-outs from newspapers and magazines, or paste in found objects from around the house.
Suggest that your child ghostwrite a diary that a character might have kept. Have her answer questions like: What was the character feeling at different points of the book? How does the character feel after the ending?
Encourage your child to build a story box or diorama. This mini stage is a 3-D representation of the story. Your child can pick her favorite setting from the book and use dollhouse furniture to construct her model.
Your child can create a word search, crossword puzzle, or a board game based on the book’s characters and plot.
Encourage your child to write an imagined interview with one of the characters, or to interview someone who actually experienced the book’s era or setting. If it’s a non-fiction book, she can talk to someone who experienced the events described.
Your child can become a journalist and write a newspaper or magazine article about the book, or create a feature about a character or specific scene. Alternatively, if your child is feeling ambitious, she can produce a whole newspaper based on the characters’ world.
Have your child write to the author about why she liked or disliked the book. Or, if your child felt strongly about an action one of the characters took, she can write a letter to that person about how it made her feel.
Your child can write a script and then read from it as if she is a news anchor reporting live from the scene. Which part of the book is she reporting on? Which characters are present?
Instead of writing a straightforward review, your child can whip up a poem or rap. Even an acrostic poem using the book’s title can be a place to start.
Ask your child to imagine a movie version of the book and create a poster advertising it. Who would be on the poster and what would they be doing? Your child can even have fun deciding which actors would play the characters.
Encourage your child to utilize props to jazz up her presentation, or dress up as one of the characters. Even better, go the extra mile and do both.
Your child can pretend classmates are potential employees in a bookstore, and talk to them about how to get people to buy the book. What kind of clients might enjoy reading it and why? What kind of information should the employees share with buyers?
By using capzles.com, your child can create a timeline of the story’s events. Video, photos, audio, text, and more can be added to make it a true multimedia experience.
Your child can film a short video clip or movie trailer based on the book. She can recruit her friends or siblings to be actors.
Encourage your child to pretend that the book has a Twitter account, and compose a string of tweets for the book’s summary or by the characters.
With a little bit of imagination, your child can bring her book to life for her classmates, and creatively show them why she enjoyed it and what she learned.
10 Technology Enhanced Alternatives to Book Reports. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2014, from Teaching, Monster.com
More Ideas Than You’ll Ever Use for Book Reports. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2014, from Teachernet.com
Better Book Reports: 25 More Ideas! (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2014, from Education World