Reading Partnership Book Projects
Four collaborative, final activities for reading partners once they have completed their books
- Grades: 3–5
- Unit Plan:
Reading partners will independently begin the book that they have both chosen to read. They will meet throughout their reading of the book to discuss the text and ask their reading partner "thick" questions that they will compose as they read the story.
- Discuss and evaluate literature with a reading partner
- Plan and present a book project to their classmates
Set Up and Prepare
- Become familiar with the Book Project options in Part 2. Choose which project you will have your reading partners complete when they finish a book, or create a list of possibilities from which they can choose.
Part 1: The Final Book Discussion
The final book discussion takes place after both students have finished the book. It differs slightly from the two book discussions that take place in the middle of the students' reading of the book.
- Refer students to the last part of their Reading Partnership Planning Sheet (PDF) titled: Final Book Discussion.
- Explain to students how to conduct the final meeting. Here is a brief explanation of each step in the final meeting:
- What happened at the end? Students will retell the end of the story together just like they did in Lesson 2: Book Discussions in a Reading Partnership when they retold events in the beginning and middle of the story.
- Were you surprised by the way the story ended? Did you like the ending? These questions encourage students to evaluate and reflect on the end of the story. Partners compare their reactions to the author's way of ending the story and share their opinions about the conclusion. Were their predictions correct?
- Share "lingering" questions about the story. Before the final discussion, students should have composed "lingering questions." Be sure that students understand that "lingering questions" are those that remain with readers even after a story is complete. Examples include questions about what they characters did after the story, why things happened the way they did, and wonderings about whether or not certain characters will stay the same or change after the story.
- Choose and plan Final Reading Project. (See Part 2 of this lesson for a more detailed explanation of this part of the final book discussion.)
Part 2: Final Book Projects
When partners complete the book that they have read together, I find it important to have a culminating activity that involves the collaboration of both readers in the partnership. Below is a list of activities to choose from. They are in order from order of those that require the least amount of time and effort to those that require a great deal of time and effort. Teachers can choose to present this as list from which partners can choose or to just assign one of the activities as the culminating activity that all partners will do at the end of their reading partnership.
- Book Commercials: Students work together to present their book to the class in the form of a commercial. You can keep it simple and just have students "advertise" the book in a way that resembles a book-talk, or you can encourage students to "spice-up" the commercials with signs, music, and props. If you choose to have students do a simple book commercial, you can refer them to How to Advertise a Good Book (PDF).
Students give their classmates
a great review of the book they
enjoyed in their reading partnership.
- Critic's Corner: Since it is not a guarantee that the reading partners will necessarily like the book enough to recommend it to others in the form of a book commercial, this option give students the opportunity to evaluate and review the book rather than just report on it. Check out Lesson 2: Critic's Corner in my previous Scholastic unit: Creating a Reading Community in Your Classroom for more information about this exciting activity.
- Paper Bag Book Report: Students will create a paper bag book report using an ordinary paper bag. Partners should choose five to seven items that represent significant events or characters from the book. For example, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" might call for a cereal bowl, a thermometer, pieces of different-sized dollhouse furniture, an ad for running shoes, etc. Students, after filling and decorating their bags, present them to the class. Students should explain how the items they have chosen together relate to the book. Partners present the bag to the class.
- Reader's Theater: Invite the reading partners to pick a funny, dramatic, or otherwise important scene in their book that involves two of the main characters and act it out for the class. Again, this can be as minimal or as elaborate as you allow it to be. Students can simply read from the book, or they can go as far as dressing up, bringing props, and/or creating some scenery. Reader's Theater is a great way for other students in the class to get a peak into the book. Books that are acted out in Reader's Theater often become popular choices in our classroom library.
- Creative Book Reports: If you are willing to give students an extended amount of time to plan and present their book in a more elaborate way, check out these great professional books.
- Beyond Book Reports: This collection of 50 innovative ideas for different types of book reports includes paper genre pizzas, character report cards, 3-D setting maps, and more.
- Better than Book Reports: This book provides creative alternatives to traditional book reports such as culture kits, tangram tales, story trees, press conferences, and 35 more.
Supporting All Learners
You know your class better than anyone else, so you will need to pick a final book project that best suits your students. The Scholastic professional books are especially favorable to students because they are geared toward all learning styles and abilities. You may have to work closely with some groups who are not able to complete a final book project without considerable teacher support.
Depending on the final book project that your students complete, there may or may not be work that needs to be done at home. If the final book project does require work outside of school, I make sure that parents have clear directions for the project, know when the project is due, and completely understand what is expected of their child. I also like to include in my weekly newsletter pictures of the students presenting their final book projects.
- All reading partners are expected to complete the Reading Partnership Planning Sheet (PDF) by the end of the book. I collect these papers and give students points for effort and for their ability to write quality "thick" questions.
- Of course, the main assignment in this lesson is the final book project.
- Did reading partners participating in a meaningful final discussion?
- Are there some partnerships that need extra teacher support during their final book discussion?
- What will be a final book project that is worthwhile and will fit into the time constraints in my classroom?
- Were there any partnerships that did not work out? What was the problem?
- Do I need to change partners before the next time I do reading partnerships in my classroom, or will I have students remain in the same partnerships throughout the year?
I collect all students' completed Reading Partnership Planning Sheet (PDF) and the Reading Partnership Questioning Form (PDF) at the end of a reading partnership and give students points for thoroughness and effort. The final book project will vary in each teacher's classroom based on what your students choose or what project you assign for them to do. You will need to create your own rubric to assess your students' performance based on the book project that they do.