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Lesson Plan

Book Report Alternative: The Elements of Fiction

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Book Report Alternative: The Elements of Fiction

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Terrill Martinez

Champaign, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Instruction & Activities

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • identify elements of fiction (plot, character, setting, conflict, and theme).

  • analyze a fiction book, locating elements of plot within that book.

  • communicate elements of plot in their book, in visual and written form, by producing a mini-book.

  • celebrate reading by sharing their stapleless books with their classmates in either pairs or small groups.

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Instruction & Activities

As a prewriting activity, have each student list on a sheet of paper (or on the Stapleless Book interactive) the elements they will include in the pages of their book.

The books will comprise eight pages, including

  1. Cover (p. 1)—students will write the title of the book they read, then design an alternate cover of their choosing (based on something from the book such as a recurring symbol).

  2. Printed copyright information (p. 2).

  3. Plot summary and descriptions of the main character, setting, conflict, and theme (pp. 3–7).

  4. Author biographical information (p. 8).

Students have the choice of which pages each element will appear. Some may deem, for example, that the main character should be described before the plot; others may want to summarize the setting first. After they have chosen the order as a prewrite, students will, in one or two sentences each, summarize the plot and describe the main character, setting, conflict, and theme of the books they read. Allow them to revise their drafts as needed. They will then draw pictures on each page, representing the element being discussed.

This summarizing activity challenges students both to reflect on what they have read and to practice synthesizing information. The resulting stapleless books will serve as vehicles for celebrating reading for its own sake as well as sharing what students have been reading. The mini-books may spark the interest of others to read the novels that have been shared where they may not have been aware of them before looking through the summarized stories.

Finally, the lesson can be a good pre- or postreading tool, reinforcing students' knowledge of the elements of fiction.

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Grades could be assigned based on a combination of the following:

  • Teacher observation and anecdotal notes based on student activity during lesson

  • Prewriting activity listing elements of fiction

  • Completion, effort, and understanding of concepts as evidenced by written and visual communication of concepts in the stapleless book

  • Oral presentation of stapleless book in small groups

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