For a different kind of book report, I’ve assigned high school students to interview an adult (you could ask them to choose someone outside the immediate family) regarding a book or periodical article. This assignment not only interacts with reading material, but it involves discussion with someone about something they’ve read, which adds two additional elements (a) “Processing” reading material rather than just reading it (b) Discussion with someone outside of school (which should be a lifelong habit). This assignment could be adapted for elementary levels.
Here’s a copy of the assignment (note that it does not require the student to read the book, but to draw out the significant content/insights of the book via interview):
Q. What is as important as reading?
A. Talking with others about what we and they have read.
One of our major privileges and responsibilities when we have read something of value (and that’s all we should read) is to converse with others about what we’ve read.
Talking about what you and others have read multiplies the value for both of you. It helps to clarify the content in your own mind and see applications to your own life.
Your assignment is to interview (have a focused, purposeful conversation with) someone about a book he or she has read recently—or one that was really good or life-influencing. Take notes from your interview. Then share with the class orally:
–A short summary of the book.
–A short reading from the book (if you can bring it in).
–A brief critique of the book based on the reader’s analysis, which will include a recommendation of why others should or should not read it.
–How the book affects our lives—what does it help us understand,
know how to do, or affect the way we look at things?