Novel Ideas for Young Readers -- Review

Novel Ideas for Young Readers -- Review

A great resource for book report assignments.

Novel Ideas for Young Readers: Projects and Activities, by Katherine Wiesolek Kuta and Susan Zernial.
Englewood, Colorado: Teacher Ideas Press, 2000.

Kuta and Zernial go beyond the “creative book report” to activities and projects that lead student through the entire reading experience. These pre-during-post activities can be used with different genres of literature. Unlike many other book reports the students will need to read the book to complete the assignment. For example, the “Mobile of Characters” adds a list of characters and what “makes him/her different in the book.”

The activities are separated into three parts:

  • Part I Reading and Writing
  • Part II Representing and Viewing
  • Part II Speaking and Listening

These different parts allow the teacher to either focus on a specific skill (e.g., listening) or allow the students to select a project that meets their learning style. When I “road tested” this book with my sixth grade classes I was able to provide options for those with learning disabilities without dumbing down the project. For students who need to be challenged the projects were available or easily adapted. Projects are included that incorporate small group work. Panel discussions, interviews, and commercials are included. These could be helpful for the class that is reading a book together. All projects include assessment guidelines.

Novel Ideas is a valuable resource for the school library collection. Kuta and Zernial have moved beyond the cutesy project to ones that increase student involvement and learning.

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