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Lesson Plan

Book Report Alternative: Rewind the Plot!

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Book Report Alternative: Rewind the Plot!

Grades 6 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathy Wickline

Kathy Wickline

Tolono, Illinois

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

Although summarizing the plot is an important component of a book report, it does not lend itself to student creativity.  By mimicking popular websites that relate the plot of movies, television shows, and real life events in reverse, students have the opportunity to review the plot in a more creative and challenging fashion.  Using a snowclone (a verbal formula that is changed for reuse), students complete the phrase “If you read ____ backwards, it’s about ____” to comment on the plots of novels.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

  • Plot PowerPoint Presentation: This will be used to introduce the students to Freytag’s Pyramid for mapping plot development.
  • Plot Diagram: Students will use this online tool to map the plots of their novels.
  • What Will I Read Next?: Students will use this printout as they listen to each other’s reports to keep track of books they wish to remember for reading later.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

Carol Jago believes that teaching plot structure often gets overlooked because on the surface the literary term plot seems so straightforward and uncomplicated.  After all, every story has a beginning, middle, and end.  However, Jago encourages educators to devise lessons that “make the language of literature useful” and allows students the opportunity to practice using such vocabulary (51).  Even though a traditional book report might provide such opportunity for practice, as Voukon points out, “the tried and true one-size-fits-all conflict-action-climax book report” does not create excitement for reading; alternative methods that engage today’s students are necessary.

Jago, Carol. "Stop Pretending and Think about Plot." Voices from the Middle 11.4 (May 2004): 50-51.

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Voukon, Michael. “Alternative Book Reports.”  English Journal 94.4 (March 2005):  117-119.

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