A solid Book Report can encourage reading comprehension, help understand broad concepts, and help a child learn about different story elements. That being said, they can also be a source of frustration for children which, in turn, can make them not want to read at all. I am very pro-reading for pleasure when it comes to little kids. As a lover of the written word I didn’t want The Buttons to feel that reading was drudgery. Something they have to “get through”. There are many conversations happening in educational circles surrounding the use of charts, stickers, reading logs, and book reports. Which ones help and which ones hinder a child’s love of reading?
As far as book reports go I’m a fan BUT…. See, I love the idea of a book report. As a child I enjoyed finding all the information about a book. I liked learning about main and secondary characters, settings, calls to adventure. I didn’t mind summarising the plot. I hated, however, being forced to memorise someone else’s opinion. I hated being told that my summary was “good” but not right because it didn’t fit the narrative the teacher/curriculum was pushing. There’s a difference between a lack of comprehension and disagreeing with someone else’s opinion. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t value in those opinions, there absolutely is. Of course there are themes the actual author is putting forth that need to be kept in mind, but like most art forms there’s room for interpretation. What makes art valuable is the relationship the artist allows us to have with it. Being told your opinion on art is wrong over and over again sucks the value out of the art itself. Yet, this happens with books all the time and it’s especially detrimental to young children just learning to read. Childhood is the ideal time to fall in love with the written word. Reading comprehension is so much easier to enforce when your child is enjoying the journey.
When O started his reading journey I wanted to keep it light. I’d write the title and author for him in his notebook and he’d draw a picture to go with the story. As he learned to write I added on. Label the characters soon became write a sentence about the main characters and so on. This year he’s starting 5th grade though and it’s time to step up our game. He’s reading bigger books and can handle a more structured book report. Finding exactly what I wanted wasn’t that easy though. He’s not the strongest writer (yet) and I didn’t want him to burn out on the first report and so I started planning my own. I wanted him to be able to do it over the course of reading the book, not all at the end. I wanted it to touch on different story parts but also book structure. I want him to get more out of it than just writing a summary.
Reading a variety of literature is very important to me and part of the reason O loves reading. The goal I’m setting this year will have him do one book report a month based on a novel. That leaves him plenty of time to read all of the other books, graphic novels, and magazines he loves without the novel feeling like work. Mostly the novel choices will be collaborative. I’m really looking forward to this new format and I hope O enjoys it too.
The Book Report worksheets include 8 sheets for basic book info, characters, summaries, settings, definitions of words they didn’t know, and even a final sheet to fill out if their book has been made into a movie, show, docs-series, or documentary!
If you’ve been looking for a similar Book Report I have the digital download listed at BeadsBobblesButtons.etsy.com Once purchased your download is yours to keep, so you can print as many copies as you need and you have the freedom to print only the pages that you need.
We get back to it September 8th but I know some have already jumped in or even go year round. However you’re rolling this year I’m wishing you all a wonderful year of learning and exploring!