This is a guest post by by Katie Hornor from ParadisePraises.com.
When it comes to reading comprehension, written book reports are often the most common evaluation method. Depending on your child’s learning style, book reports can be one of the most dreaded assignments and one of the reasons many kids hate to read. If you want to create in your child a love of reading, consider these 7 alternative book report testing methods:
1. Interview the Author
Did your child really enjoy the book? Have your child sit down and write a letter to the author. Ask them to come up with five questions to ask the author about the book. For example, they might ask how the author came up with the storyline, if the main character is inspired by anyone, etc. Encourage them to really think about the story and the answers they’d like to know. Send the email, and then follow up with a thank you if they get an answer.
2. Write a Short Follow Up Story
Another fun way to test comprehension of the material is to ask your child to write a follow up story. What happened after the story ended? Where are the characters now or 10 years later? Ask your child how they decided what happened to each character and why they felt that way. Do the two stories tie together? Was your child able to comprehend the story enough to create a new story?
3. Show Off Vocabulary Skills
Ask your child to list fifteen words that she feels define the book. And/or a list of new vocabulary words from the book. Have them explain why they picked those words and define the terms in relation to the book. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird might have words like racism, prejudice, pressure, fear, etc. The key is for your child to show comprehension of the material they read. Lists will be different based on each child. Check out Daily Skill Building: Vocabulary for an awesome, open & go vocabulary curriculum for elementary students.
4. Make Recommendations to the Character
Kids will love this testing method. Ask your child to make recommendations to different characters in the book. For example, make a list of books the characters read and why? This will show that the child understands the characteristics of the character.
5. Map the Story’s Journey
Many books, such as Mandie by Lois Gladys Leppard, have journeys involved. Have the student create a map of the story setting showing the journeys the characters took at different points in the story.
6. Create a Promotion for the Book
Have the student pretend the book is going to be made into a motion picture. It’s their job to create the movie poster promotional materials. Let them design a poster using the best images and words to describe the book, and it’s message without giving it all away.
7. Create a Character’s Facebook Friend List
Last, but not least, ask them to create a list of friends a character would have on social media. Who does that character want to keep in touch with on a daily basis? Who would they be voxer-ing with, following on Instagram or messaging on Facebook?
Have you used any other alternative methods to the traditional written book report in your homeschool? Share your ideas here!
We do have a FREE DIY Book Report Kit you can grab for your homeschool, if you’d like to have something with a bit of structure. Use this FREE DIY Book Report Kit with your elementary students and build good reading habits while teaching them the basics of book reports.
Includes four pages of graphic organizers, question prompts, illustration boxes, and more. Your new book reporters will love how easy this will make doing a book report. You may even find them WANTING to do a book report! How great would that be?