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Alternatives to Written Book Reports

There are numerous options to writing a pencil/paper book report. Notice how some of these alternatives draw on your child's potential strengths.

Have your student prepare a set of materials that might be used to sell the book he has just read or heard. He may use clipped photographs, clip art from the computer, and any props that might generate interest from a potential "customer."

Allow student to pretend he is a host on a radio talk show in which the book is being discussed by someone who has read the book and another person who might be interested in reading the book (could be the parent). Write out questions that must be discussed during the interview.

Using the radio talk show format again, allow student to create an interview with the author of the book.

Have your student present a television news broadcast about an especially exciting scene from the story. Use props (such as a curtain or a large cut-out cardboard from a washing machine carton) to create a backdrop for a realistic setting.

Have student dictate a letter to the author asking questions and/or telling what they liked about the book. He might even add ideas for a follow-up story.

Get your student to illustrate a set of 4-8 pictures that show important events in the story that can be grouped on a single poster or presented on separate sheets of paper. The student can be evaluated by having them tell about each picture (people, places and events in the picture).

Let student create a puppet show about an important scene in the book. Making the puppets can be an opportunity to focus on descriptions of characters - to help the students become aware of important characteristics or physical features that are described in the book.

Help your student to create a time line with pictures, dates, and important scenes from the story.

Use smaller simple diagrams from many scenes in the show, each on a file card. Scramble the cards and play a game in which the students must re-tell the story by putting the cards into the correct sequence. (Cards may be numbered on the back for easy sequencing.)

If your student has advanced skills in computer technology or multi-media technology, he might create a multi-media show in which they reenact or retell key scenes from a story or book.

If your student has good artistic skills or sewing skill, he might create a set of costumes for the key characters in a book or play. Ask him to talk about the characters he chose and discuss the important qualities about the characters that guided his work.

Books that are set in other times or cultures present an opportunity for students to create a travel brochure. For example, "Little House on the Prairie" books might feature a brochure encouraging people to become part of the homesteaders who settled the West.