Some students would rather talk than almost anything else. (Some teachers, too!) To harness some of students’ communication energy and interest, provide book report alternatives that involve talking - or the idea of talking. Here are some examples (written in the same way that I share them with students on specially-created prompt sheets):

  1. Prepare a 60 second synopsis of your book. You may talk as quickly as you need to in order to get all the pertinent information in the synopsis. Begin jotting down some of the ideas that you want to be sure to include. On your mark, get set, GO!
  2. Convene a group to hold a panel discussion with several students who have read the same book or a group of similar ones. What are some of the issues that might be discussed? Begin jotting down some ideas.
  3. Interview another student who is impersonating the main character from a biography or autobiography. What are some of the questions you want to ask? Write out these questions. Then conduct your interview. You may want to record it.
  4. Prepare a brief talk, limited to five minutes, about something you learned in the book you read. Your talk will be for the purpose of teaching the members of your class the new information that you learned. Prepare a brief quiz or activity to see how well the rest of your class learned what you were trying to teach them. Begin writing down information (and possible quiz questions over the information).
  5. Tell about your book by using props that will fit inside a manila envelope. Start by making a list of what you think you will need to tell the story. Let me know when you are ready for an audience.
  6. You are going to have an individual conference with your teacher where you will talk about a favorite book. You will probably only have 5 - 15 minutes, so prepare for that conference by considering the following:
  • What is it about this book that makes it a favorite?
  • What are questions that you have that are “bugging”you about something in this book?
  • If your teacher hasn’t read the book, how will you encourage him/her to do so?
  • If your teacher has read the book, what do you most want to talk over?
  • Other ideas you might have for this individual time…

We want students reading constantly - and sharing their learning and reflection on their reading. Old style book reports have got to go! Offer some of these ideas to your students and see the difference.

meggin_if_you_do_nothing_else_this_semesterAnd I invite you to access the full-color version (immediately downloadable) of *80 Alternatives to Book Reports* as well as scores of free resources that you can use to build reading, writing, and learning in your classroom, including PowerPoints, PDFs, and Word documents, by going to
If You Do Nothing Else This Semester. With the strategies I present you will get the strategies you need to not only have a successful semester, but a successful year.

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