We've Got Our Heads Stuck in a Good Book

29 March 2013
Book Report Project For Any Novel
Independent reading is huge in my classroom ... HUGE.  There is not a day that goes by that we don't find the time to squeeze it in.  When I first started my teaching career I worried about keeping students accountable for their independent reading time - we kept reading logs, students had questions to answer, you name it - I tried it.  I think I tried so many different ways because none of them were working for me (and my students).  And then ... I scrapped it all.  And the sheer LOVE of reading for pleasure skyrocketed in my classroom.

I teach readers ... and there is nothing I am more proud of.  Yes, I do "challenge" my students each year - we have a 30 book challenge we take on.  Yes, students discuss their reading with a partner during pair-share oral activities after reading ... but there are no lengthy comprehension questions to answer in writing, no log to send home to parents to sign every night.  My students are reading because they want to - they love what they are reading and finish their books because they want to, not because they have to.  I think the secret to it is that we do find the time to read every day.  I dedicate 15 - 20 minutes of my (100 minute) reading block to independent reading each day.  Because they are reading every day, they can't help but to get sucked into their books.  I think our pair-share at the end of reading really helps too, because students are always hearing about what their friends are reading, and are always adding new books to their mental "must-read" books.

About 3 or 4 times a year, we showcase our love of reading with a project ... okay - you can call it a "book report" if you want.  But, the secret is to keep it fun for the students.  My kiddos LOVED the Paper Bag Project we do in class, but I did it last year with my students, and because I have half of them again (I teach a split grade), I had to come up with something new.  My students have been loving lapbooking in science and social studies, so over our March Break I created a LapBook Report Project, and it was a hit in the classroom!  (If any of you have already purchased this product, I have updated it to include a picture of our bulletin board and the template we used to create the face and hand pictures for display.  You can download your updated copy on your "my purchases" page).

Students used their independent reading books for this project.  The foldables inside focused on character analysis, making connections, inferring, problem/resolution, vocabulary, summarizing, setting, reflection, etc.  To display these projects, students had to draw their faces and color their faces and hands.  I stapled the faces to the bulletin board and put the lapbooks just underneath.  I then stapled their hands over top so it looks like they are holding their projects.  My students did such an amazing job on these - I think they are just as proud of them as their teacher is.  ;)

book report, lapbook, bulletin boards

book report, lapbook, bulletin boards

Edit:  I have also created a nonfiction version of this Lapbook Report Project for informative texts.  Just another way to allow for differentiation in your classroom.  Click HERE to see the nonfiction version.

Happy, Happy Friday!!!  And I hope you all enjoy a lovely Easter Weekend.


  1. These look GREAT! What fun! I had this product wishlisted, so I'll have to pick it up this weekend! Is the sale something I can join in on?

    Erin B
    Mrs. Beattie's Classroom

  2. These look awesome!! I had started on making a lapbook just like these a while ago but never got the mojo to finish it! I LOVE yours!!! :)

    Amber :)
    Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

  3. Love your blog and all the great ideas you have. My class has a 40 book challenge, because they also love to read!! My question to you is--do they have to do anything to document that they have read 30 books?


  4. I was just looking at your paper bag "book reports" again earlier today debating about what I was going to do. I think that I might like to try this instead! We also read independently every day in my class and when my Therapy Tails volunteers come in they always comment on what good readers they are! I think it has something to do with the fact they enjoy reading so much. Heading off to buy this...... have a great Easter!

  5. These turned out adorable! I bet your kids LOVED doing them. Even though "book reports" have gone away a bit, my kids love to do stuff like this.

    I also think it is super important to give kids that independent reading time to continue that love of reading. I'm going to get this to do with my kids when we return after Spring Break! Thanks so much for sharing this great idea!

    Young Teacher Love 5th Grade Blog

  6. I love these! They are so cute and make a great bulletin board!!
    Third Grade Tidbits

  7. Jen!!! These look fantastic. Makes me miss teaching ELA. I'm sending this post to my ELA friends :)


    Fun in Room 4B

  8. Thanks for another great resource. I just purchased a number of your items from my wishlist at TpT! Can't wait to start using them!


  9. I love it!! It will be perfect for my class and I know they will love it too! Thanks Jen :) :)

  10. I'm wondering if you could share more about what your Pair-Share looks like at the end of your independent reading time?