One of the things my team did during our first meeting was map out when we would cover book genres throughout the year. Every class will do a book project on the same genre at the same time, but everyone has the freedom to do different projects. My assignment is for students to read their book, make a sock puppet of one of the characters, their puppet to the class, and read an excerpt from the book out loud.
The first genre is Fantasy or Science Fiction. Previously, I had called this book report “Fantasy or Animal Fiction”. I’m going to attach the document as Fantasy/Science Fiction, but if you want me to attach a Fantasy or Animal Fiction form, just let me know in the comments and I’d be happy to do so.
Year after year, parents tell me how much their kids loved the book projects throughout the year. I’ve done these projects for the past 7 years (altering them a bit each year), and this particular assignment is one of students’ favorites. They love making a sock puppet!
Basically, the kids choose their own fantasy or science fiction book to read. The rules are that it needs to be close to their independent reading level (not too hard or too easy) and needs to be a book that the student has not read before.
The purposes of book projects are:
1. To encourage students to read a variety of books at their level throughout the year
2. To develop their creativity and project completion skills
3. To think about the stories and characters in new ways
4. To improve basic reading skills (fluency, comprehension, etc).
5. To provide an opportunity for families to work together. I think it’s an extremely valuable experience for families to talk about books and work on projects together.
6. Public speaking and presentation skills are a HUGE part of the new common core standards! In each of these assignments, students will present their project to the class. I always either take pictures or videotape the presentations and put them on a class DVD that goes home before winter break and at the end of the year. You can also invite parents to the book project presentations.
If you google “how to make a sock puppet”, you will see tons of ideas that you can share with your students. Here’s a cute video from 1969 with Jim Henson about making a puppet:
There are also books about making puppets, like this one:
I have to give credit for this project to my friend Kay. When I started working with her 7 years ago, she shared these book projects with me. I’ve changed them a little, but the ideas are all from Kay. She is amazing!
Here’s the PDF. It includes the project information, grading checklist, and book selection form.