Do your kids roll their eyes at the thought of having to write another boring book report? If so, they’ll jump for joy at the chance to try these creative ideas for book reports in your homeschool. There’s something for everyone, including your:
- Crafty kid
- Letter writer
- Game creator
- Map maker
- Imaginative child
- List maker
So ditch the traditional book report! Instead of squashing your children’s love of books, invite them to extend the reading experience by wrapping it up with a delightful book-themed activity.
Which one will they choose first?
1. Design a Game
Make a game based a book you recently read. It can be a board game, card game, guessing game, or other idea. Write step-by-step directions and rules that are easy to follow. Gather any extra supplies needed to play the game, and then try it out with a friend or family member.
2. Plan a Birthday Gift
Imagine that you’ve been invited to a birthday party for one of the book’s characters, and you want to bring the perfect gift! Consider the character’s personality, likes, and dislikes before deciding on a gift he or she would really love and use. Create a greeting card to go along with your gift. In the greeting, explain to your friend from the book why you chose this gift.
3. Walk in a Character’s Shoes
In a good novel, the main character must make some hard choices. Think about a book you read recently. Write 5-10 questions that will give this character a chance to talk about the choices they faced. Then, answer the questions as if you were the character. As you write your answers, talk about the events, thoughts, and feelings that surrounded your choices and discuss the impact of your decision(s).
4. Prepare a Lesson
Do you love history? Nature? Boating? Knitting? Basketball? Read a nonfiction book about a topic that interests you. Now, pretend that you get to be the teacher and create a lesson that will teach something you learned from the book. Your lesson can explain a concept or idea, teach some facts, or explain how to do something. Write the information in a logical order. Finally, present your lesson to a sibling, friend, or parent.
5. Create a Brochure
Does your novel take place in a different city, state, country, or planet? Think about the sites in the story that would be educational, fun, or exciting to visit. Whether the story setting is real or imaginary, design a travel brochure to entice visitors. Include maps, drawings, photos, text, bulleted lists, and attention-grabbing section titles. For content ideas, try this list of Things to Include in a Travel Brochure. It may also be helpful to look at some real travel brochures.
6. List Character Traits
What makes a book’s protagonist, or hero, likeable? What makes the antagonist, or “bad guy,” unlikeable? Write down the names of four or more characters from your book and list each one’s traits. (Remember that likeable characters can sometimes be jealous, angry, or selfish. Likewise, “bad guys” can sometimes demonstrate positive character qualities.)
7. Jump into a Book!
Pretend you’re going to join the characters in your book for a week. Make a list of all the things you’ll need to pack. Plan carefully, because you won’t be able to go home for (or buy) anything you forgot!
8. Make a Diorama
A diorama is a miniature 3-dimensional scene that recreates a setting. It can feature models of buildings, plants, animals, or people set against a background. A diorama can use photos and paper, or it can include 3-dimensional materials such as Styrofoam, plastic figurines, or natural items such as twigs, shells, or pebbles.
Make a diorama in a shoebox to represent a scene or main event from your book. Then write a vivid description of the scene OR explain what happened at this scene during one of the main events of the book.
9. Write to the Author
Write a letter to the author of a book you recently read.
- Mention this book, plus any others that you have read by this author.
- Tell the author three things about the book you just read (something you did or didn’t like; your opinions about the characters, setting, and plot; why you did or didn’t like the way the story ended; an idea for a sequel; etc.)
- Ask the author 2-3 questions. These can either be personal questions (favorite childhood memory, number of brothers or sisters, favorite book, favorite place to visit) or they can be about the process of writing this book.
10. Make a Timeline and Map
After reading a biography or historical-fiction novel, make a timeline to show the main events of the story. Use drawings, clipart, or magazine cutouts to illustrate events along the timeline. Then draw a map showing the location(s) where the story took place.
Looking for more ways to engage your kids with books? Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond offers loads of ideas that get kids talking and writing about the books they’re reading, from the earliest picture books to high-school level novels.
It also includes printable reading logs for all ages, book-themed journal prompts, and loads of additional creative ideas for book reports. Sprinkle them into your weekly reading and writing lessons and watch your children make more meaningful connections with the books they read.