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Lesson Plan

Book Report Alternative: Creating a New Book Cover

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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
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Session Four


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • examine the components of a book cover or dust jacket.

  • design a new cover for a book or a dust jacket based on their comprehension of the story.

  • share and explain their new book covers or dust jackets.

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Session One

  1. Explain that the class will be looking at numerous book covers and dust jackets so they can see what information is found there.

  2. Discuss the difference between a book cover (the front of a book) and a dust jacket (paper covering found on a hardback book that is usually illustrated and includes front and back flaps, that protects the binding of the book from scratches).

  3. Show students the books that you have gathered for this activity. Hold them up, and let the students see the book covers and dust jackets.

  4. Have students share their initial reactions to the different book covers and dust jackets. You may also want to show the students examples of older book covers online: Publishers' Bindings Online: 1815–1930 and Dust Jackets from American and European Books, 1926–1947 from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

  5. Provide time for students (individually, in pairs, or groups) to examine the book covers and dust jackets.

  6. While they are examining the book cover and dust jackets, ask students to identify the information contained on most book covers. Depending on the level of the students, you may want to provide them with a handout that provides prompts as they look at the books.

  7. As students explore and examine the different book covers and dust jackets, observe their book-handling skills and the comments they are making about what they see.

  8. At the end of the session, allow time for the students to share some of what they observed.

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Session Two

  1. Begin this session by asking students to share the attributes of book covers and dust jackets. Record this information on the board or on chart paper.

  2. To make sure that students see all of the different components, share the Book Cover Guide.

  3. Invite the students to share the book cover or dust jacket that was their favorite. Students should state reasons why that cover or jacket was their favorite. Record this information as well.

  4. Using the known attributes of book covers and dust jackets, and what makes the covers or dust jackets attractive or pleasing, invite students to recreate a book cover or dust jacket for a book that they have already read or listened to as a read aloud.

  5. Pass out and review the Book Cover Components checklist or the Dust Jacket Components checklist so that students know the information required on their book covers or dust jackets. Also pass out or display the rubric so they know how their project will be assessed.

  6. Demonstrate the Book Cover Creator to students in the computer lab or using an LCD projector. Show the students how the tool works and create an example using a text that all students have read or are familiar with.

  7. Answer any questions the students may have.

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Session Three

  1. Allow this entire session for students to recreate the cover or dust jacket of a book that they have read or listened to as part of a read aloud using the Book Cover Creator.

  2. Monitor students as they work, and provide feedback and support as needed. This is also a good time to take anecdotal notes and/or interview the students about their knowledge of the books and the components of a book cover or dust jacket.

  3. Remind them to revisit the Book Cover Components checklist or Dust Jacket Components checklist so they include all of the required parts.

  4. Continue working until all students have completed their projects and have printed them out.

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Session Four

  1. When all of the students have completed their projects, allow time for the students to share their new book covers or dust jackets. Prompt students to explain what they changed from the original cover and why.

  2. If possible, have the students share the original book cover or dust jacket when they share their recreations.

  3. As students are sharing, assess their work using the rubric.

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  • Ask students to consider how the potential readers of a book might influence the choices for the book cover. A book from the Harry Potter series can provide a useful example. Have students discuss how the cover might be designed differently based on whether the readers are their own age, teenagers, or adults.

  • Share books that have more than one cover. Books that have been dramatized as movies often have a second version of the book cover that features a character or scene from the movie. Books such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Because of Winn-Dixie would work for this discussion. Ask the class to discuss the differences between the two versions. If desired, use the Venn Diagram to organize the information on the two covers. Ask students to review the differences and discuss the reasons that the new version was created—who will the new version appeal to? why was a new version necessary? if you had your choice, which version do you prefer?

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  • Focus on observation and anecdotal note taking as students work on their projects to provide ongoing assessment of their progress.

  • Use the rubric to assess students’ book covers or dust jackets.

  • Compare the students’ checklists to their final projects to make sure that all of the needed components are present.

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