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Book Report Alternative: Creating a New Book Cover
|Grades||3 – 5|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Four 50-minute sessions|
The proverb says, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” In this lesson plan, students are not judging what is inside the book, but what is on the cover itself. What does it include? Why? What is left off? Why do you think that is? After examining many book covers and dust jackets, students recreate a cover or dust jacket for a selected book; then, they share their creations with their classmates and explain the changes they made or what they chose to keep. Students use a checklist to make sure they have all of the needed components, and the teacher can use the checklist as an assessment piece.
In her English Journal article "Fifty Alternatives to the Book Report," Diana Mitchell explains "Students tire of responding to novels in the same ways. They want new ways to think about a piece of literature and new ways to dig into it" (92).
Mitchell's observation is supported by Jim Cope's survey of 272 high school seniors in five Georgia high schools. In the article reporting his findings, Cope states, "Book reports were listed as the third most negative school reading experience, and can be considered a subset of students' general disdain for assigned reading" (21). Like Mitchell, Cope suggests that teachers "move away from the traditional book report and consider more exciting activities" in order to raise students' interest and engagement in reading. The end result of book report alternatives, such as the one explored in this lesson plan, is that the activities "whet the interest of students in exploring new directions and in responding with greater depth to the books they read" (Mitchell 92).
Mitchell, Diana. "Fifty Alternatives to the Book Report." English Journal 87.1 (January 1998): 92-95.
Cope, Jim. "Beyond Voices of Readers: Students on School's Effects on Reading." English Journal 86.3 (March 1997): 18-23