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Lesson Plan

Book Report Alternative: Summary, Symbol, and Analysis in Bookmarks

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Book Report Alternative: Summary, Symbol, and Analysis in Bookmarks

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English



From Theory to Practice



Students love to make bookmarks on the computer because they get to share their ideas with others. Consider the following exchange and you'll see why teachers love this project: "What background color will you choose for your bookmark? What goes with Achren's character? She's so evil that it will have to be red," commented Hannah as she worked. Samie disagreed, and the discussion that ensued had them pawing through the book, justifying their preferences. By making these simple bookmarks, students practice in summarizing, recognizing symbols, and writing reviews—all while writing for an authentic audience. What more could a teacher ask for?

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Beverly Busching and Betty Ann Slesinger explain that literature is a "repository of cultural values"; thus, by reading widely, students are able to tap that repository and become more conscious of their own culture and that of others. Busching and Slesinger continue, "Students need to see their own lives interpreted and validated in the books they read, and they also need to see the wide panoply of humanity, not just to watch these characters enact their lives, but also to see into their lives. Through books, students can develop strong bonds with diverse individuals they would be unlikely to meet in their actual lives, or could never know well" (146-47).

By asking students to explore texts in their libraries for stereotypes and balanced representations of cultural values, this lesson bridges the transformation and decision-making/social action approaches to multicultural education.

Further Reading

Busching, B., & Slesinger, B.A. (2002). "It's Our World Too": Socially Responsive Learners in Middle School Language Arts. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

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