Often, when we think of writing book reports, we think of older students. However, young children can also learn valuable elements of book reports. It will also help them with reading comprehension and improve their writing skills. One thing to remember is to make it simple and fun. Our young students are just beginning to read, and we want to keep up that excitement, not turn it into something negative.
Before doing a book report on paper, we want to make sure that the students familiarize all the terms that may come up in a book report such as title, author, illustrator, and the story elements.
You can use these posters to introduce different elements of a story. I like to introduce one or two posters at a time. For example, we will talk about authors vs. illustrators and we will study some of our class’s favorites and find out who the authors and illustrators are. We will learn about setting, and compare and contrast the settings in different stories we’ve read.
(setting: compare and contrast anchor chart)
I like to do a read aloud and identify parts of a book and elements of a story with my students. The more you talk about them, the more they will be comfortable identifying them in the books they read and using them in sentences. All this oral exercise will prepare them to eventually write their own book report.
These are some of the questions you can ask as you introduce different parts of a book and elements of a story.
What is the title of the story?
Is the book fiction or nonfiction?
By looking at the cover and the title, can you guess what the book is about?
What is the setting of the story?
Who are the characters?
What happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story?
I created these Book Response Cues that you can use once your students are more fluent in identifying the terms in the books they read. Print, cut, and stick them on popsicle sticks or straws, and put them in a little can. After reading a story together, you can have a student pull out a stick to answer the question. This is a great way to do a whole group book study.
(Book Response Cues photo)
Now, it’s time for a book report! You want to give them something that is kid-friendly and not overwhelming. Let them know they are doing something special- something that older kids do. LEVEL UP! They are growing up!
These printables were specifically made for kindergarten and first graders who are new to book reports. Writing a book report for young kids should not be intense. For this reason, all of the pages are simple and straightforward, and they focus on a few key words at a time. They can be used in reading/listening centers, as a guided reading extensions, or to assist students in retelling a story.
For me, it is important for my students to familiarize different components and elements of a book, practice writing sentences, and additionally practice handwriting.
Doing a book study together will encourage students to talk about the books that they read. They may have a read a great book and recommend to their friends or they may even talk about a book that was not that fun for them. Reading a book with the intention of reviewing it may even give a little nudge on your students to pay closer attention.
Other things you can do when studying a book together is getting your students to write a friendly letter to the author, illustrator, or to one of the characters. Here’s a link to free letter templates you can use. You could do something fun like dressing up as one of the characters or select a day or week where your kids can dress up as characters in a book! If you have any other fun ideas to share, please share them in the comments below! 🙂
See what others have to say about these book reports!