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Tools for School ~~ Creative Book Report Ideas: Elementary and Middle School

Updated on November 3, 2020
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Patricia is someone whose life is centered around family. Each day is one more opportunity to show my loved ones how much they mean to me.

Use of technology

  • Allow students to use in class computers or personal laptops to create and present their book report.
  • If you have a smartboard, you can always hook them up so they can display it for the whole class.
  • Students can produce their own video via computer and present to the class as well.
  • Keep it modern and interesting for the children and they will buy into it.

So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

— Roald Dahl

A Vest was a Popular Choice


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The quote from Mr. Dahl is from the beloved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that he wrote.

It is doubtful that TVs will be thrown away but taking a break from them one night a week is a lovely idea. Reading together outloud or gathering to read and perhaps discuss what is read often proves to be such a powerful way to bring families together.

Making a bookmark


Evaluating the book report

The question arises as to how to evaluate the book reports that will be submitted.

It is best to use a rubric. That way evaluation of the reports is fair and equitable. You can make it as general or as specific as you wish.

I always felt that the point of the report was to have the children read, enjoy what they read, and have a fun way to share it.

For that reason, I tried to make the rubric a tool to indicate effort and accomplishment but not so stringent that it was impossible to score well.

Self-expression of ideas

The words book report often suggests to a child that they need need to run find a book and begin copying. And we all know about plagiarizing so that is not really an option.

Interestingly enough today many of the book reporting ideas within this article are now in books that are on sale in bookstores and on line. They are just ideas I have used for years and met with success.

The suggestions in these two articles are book reporting ideas that my children used when I was still teaching. I was as excited as they were on the day when they came in to class. The work was A M A Z I N G. The eighth grade students especially took this to a higher level exceeding my expectations.

More interest in books....

What I liked best about the book reporting is that children actually read books. It was necessary to do so as I had an interview with them privately or in front of the class, their choice. I asked pointed questions about the plot or characters that they would not know had they not read the book.

That was the point get them to read. And, we had time for reading in class each day. That was after all the name of the class....reading.

How it worked..

Students selected how they wished to make their presentation to our class.

  • Each student was expected to the include the: title, author, number of pages in the book. This information was submitted on an index card along with the presentation.The book they were reporting on needed to be in class the day the presentation was due.
  • An interview was held with each child in class while others worked on assignments or read books or magazines. That way I found out what they knew. Of course many books have been made into movies a fact of which I was aware but I do not think my students thought I did. I often would ask some question the movie did not answer…if that happened I would not accept the report at that time.
  • They would need to revisit the book and come back better prepared to answer. (There are many ways to circumvent even that strategy. They could ask someone and now they can go on line and probably find all of the answers. However, I wanted the students to at least make an effort to read more. Actually, this particular issue rarely surfaced because they could choose any book they wanted within reason so they had more ownership in the assignment.

Over the years I only censored one book. Of course the parent said I had no right to censor it. I understood the parent's viewpoint but I had a whole section (150 ) of students to consider. My justification was this: I said it is fine for your child to read it at home but not okay for it to be shared in class. The subject matter was not appropriate for class discussion in my opinion. The book was Forever by Judy Blume. The time I had this experience was 1983. I probably still would suggest that another choice for class discussion be chosen. Call me's okay.

The first six ideas....

10 book reporting ideas are in this article. Several have been selected to demonstrate expectations

1. Make a video. Even back in the VHS days there were children who opted for this. The results were often were amusing and often very well done.

For this one, the requirement was they made it 5 minutes in length. They could dress up and act out part of the story or they could tell a favorite part or read with great expression a portion of the book.

2. Make a poster advertisement for the book.

Make a fabulous poster ‘selling’ this book to others.

3. Dress up as a character. Dressing up as a character was one some liked. They would speak to the class as the character.

4. Write a letter to a character in the book. Students would write a letter to a character telling them something they needed to know that they as the reader knew but the character did not. Or, they would write the character and tell them they understood how they were feeling. Or, they admired how brave they were. This particular choice was usually full of passion.

5. Write a different ending to the story or continue the story and explain why. These would be mailed to the author of the book sometimes. And sometimes we got a reply.

Sometimes they would complain that they did not like the ending or wish the story would have continued that was how this option came to be.

6. Interview the main character. For this choice, students could work as a team.

They would conduct an interview with one of the characters in the story Both would need to know the book well in order to pull this off.

Four more ideas...

7. Make a T Shirt. The shirt was a miniature t shirt and would decorated to reflect something of the book. In a few cases, I had students who used an actual t shirt.

8. Write a poem about the book. These were usually well done as the children who selected this option were often very interested in poetry and their interest and effort was reflected in their poem

9. Make a flag. Over the years many flags were made. I wish I had kept some but they were always given back to the students. This was like making a bookmark but the material was presented as a flag and a dowel was required. (I kept some in the classroom for those who might need help with getting one. )

10. Make a paper doll or dolls of a character or characters. Again if there were issues with getting cardstock I kept some in the classroom for the students to use.

Step 1

Step 2


How to make the torn paper t-shirt

The steps are shown in the photographs but an explanation is provided in case you are unable to really follow it. (I would need the explanation!!)

This is a 'torn paper' shirt.

  • First, fold an 8 1/2 x 11 (or larger if desired) sheet of paper in half
  • hamburger style 8 1/2 inch side to 8 1/2 inch side; crease.
  • Turn so that the open sides are to your left.
  • Tear a small semi-circle from the top to form a neckline
  • Next turn the paper so the folded portion is in your left hand
  • if you are left-handed work with which hand suits you best.
  • Drop down about 3 1/2 inches and tear off a strip all the way to the bottom.
  • Open and lie flat.
  • A t-shirt awaits. This is where they write and illustrate information about their book.
  • This is fun for the kids but if you want a neater looking shirt,
  • tell the children to sketch one and cut it out.
  • This torn paper t-shirt was very popular each year.

Materials to have on hand in the classroom for completing book reports

chart paper
construction paper
oak tag
card stock
colored pencils
thin and fat markers
fabric scraps
shoe boxes or cola boxes
string, yarn
poster board

Step 3

Step 4


Completed t-shirt


A little more about making the t-shirt

  • Next turn the paper so the folded portion is in your left hand
  • (if you are left-handed work with which hand suits you best).
  • Drop down about 3 1/2 inches and tear off a strip all the way to the bottom.
  • Open and lie flat.
  • A t-shirt awaits.
  • This is fun for the kids
  • but if you want a neater looking shirt,
  • you can tell the children to sketch one and cut it out.
  • This particular one is very popular.

A flag


Make a flag...

Making a flag will be totally the creation of the individual student. The one shown is only one way this can be completed. Instead of a dowel, a stick was used since it worked for this book.

The more creative the children are the better, for them!

It is important that important elements from the story are included on the flag.

Make a vest

The vest is another opportunity for the student to demonstrate creativity. There is really no wrong way to do this ...almost. It does need to resemble a vest but creativity is definitely a way to turn these into spectacular reporting devices.

Again, as with each presentation, evidence of understanding and of having read the book should be demonstrated on the vest.

Have you found that using creative ideas for book reporting encourages kids to actually read the books?

See results

Question & Answer Section to Clarify

Mr. or Ms. Peep: For what grade level did use this list of choices?

Ms.I.B A. Teacher: Many of these were used only in middle school or in upper elementary. Knowing your students will help you to decide what children are ready for this.I had some second grade groups of children who could do almost all of these with no difficulty.

Mr. or Ms. Peep: How far in advance did you give the assignment?

Ms. I.B. A. Teacher: The assignment was usually given one month in advance so that children had time to read their book. Class time was given each day for reading of their book.

Mr. or Mrs. Peep: What did you do if you had some concerns that necessary materials to complete the assignment would be unavailable to a student?

Ms. I. B. A. Teacher: In my classroom, there was a supply of materials needed to complete any assignment. Students knew they would be provided if needed.

Mr. or Mrs. Peep: What did you do to try to insure everyone would turn in a presentation?

Ms.I. B. A. Teacher: The week prior to the 'due date' about 25 minutes of each class period was set aside to work on the project. Students who did not need the time would read a new book or meet with me to discuss other stories.

At the end of the school year each year that I taught middle school which was thirteen years, I passed out an evaluation form about my class which in essence was an evaluation of my teaching. It was anonymous so kids were unafraid to answer honestly. One comment that the majority of the evals contained was how much they liked the book reporting format. That was why I continued to use it.

What was the Value? Why 'Waste' the Time?

In light of all of the testing that is currently being done, many teachers and parents may wonder how time could be given over to such an activity.

The effects of doing these projects were far more long lasting than many other ways that can be used to help children learn critical thinking skills, to infer, to draw conclusions, to get the 'big picture' COMPREHEND.

Selecting a book to present, reading it and sharing with others, built excitement and so much interest in reading. NO time is ever wasted when the power and joy of truly discovering the printed word becomes a part of a young person's life.


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