Reading and writing book reports are important. After all, wasn’t it Ben Carson’s mother who made him and his brother write two book reports a week–and he’s chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. But if you’re looking for an alternative to book reports to help make things more interesting, consider one of the following options:
1. Do a costumed presentation of your book. Dress as one of the characters and tell the story from that character’s point of view.
2. Write a letter from one character to another character.
3. Write the first paragraph (or two) for a sequel. Outline what would happen in the rest of book.
4. Write a new conclusion.
5. Write a new beginning.
6. If a journey was involved, draw a map with explanatory notes of significant places.
7. Make a diorama from one of the scenes in the book.
8. Make a new jacket with an original blurb.
9. Cut out magazine pictures to make a collage or a poster illustrating the idea of the book.
10. Keep a reading journal and record your thoughts at the end of each period of reading.
11. For fun, exaggerate either characteristics or events and write a tabloid-style news story related to your book.
12. Draw a comic-book page complete with bubble-style conversations showing an incident in your book.
13. Decide on an alternate title for the book. Why is it appropriate? Is it better than the one the book has now? Why or Why not?
14. Make a travel brochure inviting tourists to visit the setting of the book. What types of activities would there be for them to attend?
15. Write a letter to the main character of the book. Write the letter he or she sends back.
16. Make three or more puppets of the characters in the book. Prepare a short puppet show.
17. Prepare a list of 15 to 20 questions for use in determining if other people have read the book carefully.
18. Rewrite the story as a picture book. Use simple vocabulary so that it may be enjoyed by younger students.
19. Write a diary as the main character would write it to explain the events of the story.
20. Make a dictionary containing 20 or more difficult words from the book.
21. Make a mobile showing pictures or symbols of happenings in the book.
22. Make a crossword puzzle using ideas from a book.
23. Choose any topic from your book and write a 1-2 page research report on it.
24. Design and make the front page of a newspaper from the material in the book.
25. Make a display of the time period of your book.
26. Pretend your book is being made into a movie. Create the trailer.
27. Create a radio ad for your book. Write out the script and tape record it as it would be presented. Don’t forget background music!
28. Make a “wanted” poster for one of the characters or objects in your book. Include the following: (a) a drawing or cut out picture of the character or object, (b) a physical description of the character or object, (c) the character’s or object’s misdeeds (or deeds?), (d) other information about the character or object which is important, (e) the reward offered for the capture of the character or object.
29. Design an advertising campaign to promote the sale of the book you read. Include each of the following: a poster, a radio or TV commercial, a magazine or newspaper ad, a bumper sticker, and a button.
30. Find the top 10 web sites a character in your book would most frequently visit. Include 2-3 sentences for each on why your character likes each of the sites.
31. Write a scene that could have happened in the book you read but didn’t. After you have written the scene, explain how it would have changed the outcome of the book.
32. Create a board game based on events and characters in the book you read. Your game should include the following: a game board, a rule sheet and clear directions, events and characters from the story.
33. Make models of three objects which were important in the book you read. On a card attached to each model, tell why that object was important in the book.
34. Design a movie poster for the book you read. Cast the major character in the book with real actors and actresses. Include a scene or dialogue from the book in the layout of the poster.
35. If the book you read involves a number of locations within a country or geographical area, plot the events of the story on a map. Attach a legend to your map.
36. Write a paragraph that explains the importance of each event indicated on your map.
37. Complete a series of five drawings that show five of the major events in the plot of the book you read. Write captions for each drawing so that the illustrations can be understood by someone who did not read the book.
38. Select one character from the book you read who has the qualities of a heroine or hero. List these qualities and tell why you think they are heroic.
39. Plan a party for the characters in the book you read. In order to do this, complete each of the following tasks: (a) Design an invitation to the party which would appeal to all of the characters. (b) Tell what food you would serve and why. (c) Tell what games or entertainment you will provide and why your choices are appropriate. (d) Tell how three of the characters will act at the party. (e) What kind of a party is this? (birthday, housewarming, un-birthday, anniversary, etc.)
40. List five of the main characters from the book you read. Give three examples of what each character learned or did not learn in the book.
41. Write a resume for one of the characters in the book. Be sure to list his/her qualities and qualifications.
42. You are a prosecuting attorney putting one of the characters from the book you read on trial for a crime or misdeed. Prepare your case on paper, giving all your arguments.
43. Make a list of at least ten proverbs or familiar sayings. Now decide which characters in the book you read should have followed the suggestions in the familiar sayings and why.
44. Make a time line of the major events in the book you read. Be sure the divisions on the time line reflect the time period in the plot. Use drawings or magazine cutouts to illustrate events along the time line.
45. Make a paper doll likeness of one of the characters in the book you read. Design at least three costumes for this character. Next, write a paragraph commenting on each outfit; tell what the clothing reflects about the character, the historical period and events in the book.
46. Pick a national issue. Compose a speech to be given on that topic by one of the major characters in the book you read. Be sure the contents of the speech reflect the characters personality and beliefs.