In my teaching practice, I am always looking for ways to motivate my students to read. I try to ensure that students actively think about what they have read and that they are able to report about it orally and in writing.
Unfortunately, I have experienced that writing book reports proves to be challenging for a lot of English language learners and especially for beginning language learners with very limited reading and writing skills. In addition, most of my ESL classes have been multi-leveled and I had to provide students with books of different levels of difficulty, which can be tricky.
In the past, a colleague forwarded me a list of book report choices. I chose twenty different books that I found suitable for the grade level and I gave my students a choice as to what book they want to read and how they want to report on it.
The great benefit of the book report choices is that students can choose a genre/text type that they are comfortable with. In addition, they are asked to illustrate, sketch, draw diagrams and maps, and most importantly, to use their own creativity to complete the task.
Most of my students embraced the task with a lot of enthusiasm. They sat down and produced reports of excellent quality. The fact that they could choose a book (level of difficulty as well as topic) and also choose how to report about it made a big difference. Everyone found a choice that they felt comfortable with. And the results exceeded my expectations.
- Write a different ending to the story.
- Write a letter to a character in your story.
- Write a letter to the author of your story.
- Make a time line of all the events in the book.
- Send a postcard from one of the characters. Draw a picture on one side; write the message on the other.
- Plan a party for one or all of the characters.
- Make a chart of 10 interesting words from the book. Write the definitions and use the words in sentences.
- Make a bookmark for the book, drawing a character on the front, giving a brief summary of the book on the back. Make sure you have the author and the title.
- Interview a character from you book. Write at least 10 questions that will give the character the opportunity to discuss his/her thoughts and feelings about his/her role in the story. However you choose to present the interview is up to you.
- Make a map of where the events in the book take place.
Reference: Elisabeth Hines