I always loved doing book reports when I was in school. I already loved to read, and the reports were a way to show that off. But I’ve learned from my own homeschooling experience with my daughter that not every kid feels the same way. My girl loves to read but the added work of the report just quashed her desire to dive into new books. I was killing the enjoyment, which was certainly not worth a little writing exercise. Sound familiar?
Here are a few ways to build on reading time time without resorting to the traditional book report.
Make Some Art
Use the book as inspiration for an art project. Simply draw a picture of a favorite scene, or get more creative to create an alternative cover or even a potential movie poster based on the story. Try various mediums if you’re not big on drawing or painting. Why not a sculpture of the main character, or a diorama of the setting?
Something More Dramatic?
If static art doesn’t interest your kids, you could have them put on a short skit or play to recreate parts of the book. Any great speeches or monologues in the story? A dramatic reciting can be fun and less complex than a skit. Write a “theme song” for the book, and perform it.
Stick with a literature theme and add more creative writing of your own to the story. Kids could write what happens to the characters after the story finished, or maybe write a short spin-off tale about the minor characters. An post-story interview with a character can be a fun way of exploring the themes of the book too.
Craft a Timeline
For the less artistically-inclined, you can create great recall of the story by drawing out a timeline of the story. Marking the significant events as the story progressed can be more interesting than just plain writing out a summary or description of the book. Artwork or short explanations can be used to mark each point. I think this is a good option for the more math-minded kids.
Just Keep a Log
You can develop a list of books read and not bother with any further projects at all. A cute book log can give a sense of accomplishment as the titles fill in, but allows for kids to just read to their hearts content without having to make it “work”.