Sunday, October 25, 2009

Book Reports for the Rebellious

Book Reports for the Rebellious

We homeschoolers may disagree on many of the specifics of how to educate our children, but one activity is central in every school day in every homeschool family I ever knew in my seventeen years—reading. We love books. We check out armloads from the public library, we put them on Christmas lists, we swap them, track them down online, spend grocery money on them. And then some of us make the mistake I made—we require our children to write boring paragraphs about what they read.

While I was in school getting my English degree we read lots of books, and each one generated a long and complex analysis, so I thought that was the only way a student could prove he had read and understood every book. The problem is that most novels were written to be enjoyed, and my chain-gang approach to reading comprehension was killing that joy.

So how does one set her little ones free and still prepare them for the rigors of higher education? Let them choose from a list of report formats that gives the information and includes some fun.
Here are some ideas to get you started. We did all of these at our house at least once. They are kid tested and mother/teacher approved.
• Try assigning reports for every other book read.
• Have your child design a book jacket—complete with artwork, reviews, biography of the author, blurbs and excerpts.
• Draw a cartoon strip of the basic plot.
• Construct an illustrated (or not) timeline of the major events in the story.
• Act out a scene from the story.
• Compare/ contrast the story to a story in the Bible.
• Write a new ending to the story.
• Suggest the plot for a sequel to the story.
• Choose music that would be appropriate for a movie version of the story.
• Write a short story using elements of the story read.
• Write a review of the story.
• Write a few entries of the main character’s diary.
• Interview your child about the book.
• Write a letter to the author of the book if he or she is still living. (Good library skills here finding contact information.)
• Paint a favorite scene, including all important details.

I hope these help get your creativity flowing. Do you have any creative book report ideas you’d like to share? How do you keep your kids interested in reading? We’d love to hear from you!

1 comment:

  1. Great tips, Shelly. I especially love the one about making a book cover for the book, writing the blurb, etc. It involves a lots of creative skills. How about you other moms?