There are only so many book reports one teacher can read in a lifetime! We’ve offered a few book report alternatives in the past, but thanks to Christine Boardman Moen’s book, Better Than Book Reports, here are a few more.
Burying the Report: 3 Book Report Alternatives
Create a Culture Kit
One of our favorite things about reading is that it allows us to travel all over the world and experience different cultures all from the comfort of our favorite reading space. One way to enhance this cultural experience is by having students create a Culture Kit.
To create a Culture Kit, students should follow these steps:
- Choose and read a nonfiction book about a family or person from a culture other than your own.
- Choose six items to put into your Culture Kit box.
- On a sheet of paper, list each item and explain why it is important in the culture you read about.
- Be prepared to give a short speech to your classmates about the things in your Culture Kit box. Practice picking each item out of the box and explaining its importance.
- Decorate the Culture Kit box. For example, you may want to color it or decorate it to look like the country’s flag.
Grow a Story Tree
The Story Tree is another book report alternative that aims to helps students focus on the basic literary elements of plot, character, and setting while encouraging them to use exact language to share their book with others.
To introduce this project, you may want to first read aloud a story. Then, as a group, complete a Story Tree that you have copied onto an overhead transparency or on the white board. The statements used to make a Story Tree are listed below.
1. The name of the main character
2. Two words that describe the main character
3. Three words that describe where the story takes place (setting)
4. Four words telling what the main character wanted in the story
5. Five words telling what happened that almost stopped the main character from getting what s/he wanted
6. Six words telling how the main character got what s/he wanted
7. Seven words that describe the best part of the book
8. Eight words that explain why you would or would not tell a friend to read this book.
You can download the Story Tree template here.
A Recipe for a Good Book
Like a master chef who adds the perfect combination of ingredients together to produce a tasty meal, authors also use their own ingredients—plot, theme, setting, mood, dialogue, pace—to concoct an engaging story that holds our attention, surprises, and delights us.
In this book report alternative, students will select and read a book, then create a “book recipe” that lists all of the ingredients that were mixed together to make their book “good enough to eat!”
These are the ingredients students should include in their “book recipe”:
Plot: Tell what happens in the story.
Theme: Tell the message of the story.
Setting: Tell where the story takes place.
Mood: Tell if they story is happy, sad, scary, silly, etc.
Characters: Tell the names of the main characters and if they are good, bad, helpful, mean, funny, etc.
Here’s what your recipe card might look like: