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Book Report Alternative: Hooking a Reader with a Book Cover
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Five 50-minute sessions|
Asheville, North Carolina
In this lesson, students select a book to read based only on its cover art. They then analyze why the art attracted them and anticipate what the book may be about before examining the rest of the information found on the book cover. After reading the book, they reexamine the book cover to determine whether, in their opinion, it conveys the key elements of the book. Finally, students use an interactive tool to redesign the book cover.
Book Cover Creator: Students use this online tool to design and print a book cover or dust jacket for a text they have read or have written themselves.
ReadWriteThink Webbing Tool: Students use this online tool to create a variety of free-form graphic organizers including cluster, hierarchy, and cause and effect webs. Completed webs can be printed.
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