Novel Study Activities Kids Will Love
When doing a novel study, you want the novel itself to be the main focus, not the worksheets and tests. But still, there need to be some activities to ensure that students do the close reading necessary to get the most out of the book. Stations and partner or group projects all work well; students have fun doing these activities, and you can incorporate any skills you want to work on.
Guest Post by Sharon Fabian from Classroom in the Middle
Activities for Stations
Here are some ideas for station assignments that will work well while students are still reading the novel.
- Game Questions – Provide index cards and fine point markers or other colorful writing implements. Have students write questions with answers, one per card, letting them know that their questions may be used for a game once the novel is finished.
- Dramatic Reading – Set up a recorder and have students choose a scene to read aloud and record.
- Conversation with a Main Character – Direct students to write a series of e-mail or text messages from themselves to one of the main characters, with replies from the character.
- Theme Bookmark – Provide card stock cut into bookmark-sized rectangles, and art supplies. Students should make a book mark that includes phrases and pictures to represent one theme from the book. If needed, post a list of themes for students to choose from.
- More Books – For this station, students will either go to the library or use the internet. Direct students to put together some good lists – a list of more books by the same author, a list of more books of this genre, a list of more books with a similar theme, and a list of more books with a main character who has similar character traits.
After Finishing the Novel
These ideas are for after the class has finished reading the story.
- Plot Sort – Provide a set of cards with one event from the plot on each card. Students should sort the cards into the correct sequence.
- Character Match – Provide two groups of cards, one group with character names, and one group with character traits. Students should match the character traits to the characters.
- Theme Poster – Provide poster board or large sheets of paper. Students make a poster that explains and gives examples of one theme from the story.
Small Group Activities
The fun of working with a group or partner can help kids get into the novel.
- Costume Design – Students work together to plan, draw, and describe costumes for the main character and other interesting characters based on what they know about the characters themselves, the setting, and the time period.
- Sets and Props – Students work together to sketch out sets and write lists of props for important scenes from the story.
- Character Interview – The group plans out a series of interview questions that they would like to ask the main character with answers that the main character might give. Then, two students from the group present their interview to the class.
- For students who are having difficulty comprehending the story, use partner reading. Two students read together, taking turns, and then take turns quizzing each other about details of the pages just read. Provide a “cheat sheet” of possible questions if that will help.
After Finishing the Novel
These group projects will work well after the whole novel has been read.
- A Good Yarn – Students tape yarn to a wall to create a really big plot map, then write the important plot events on cards and post them at the appropriate places on their plot map.
- Life-Size Character – Students in the group trace around one person to create a life-size character shape on bulletin board paper. After drawing in the character’s features and clothing, the group writes in character traits around their person, adding details from the story to support their choice of each trait.
- Big Themes, Mini-Book – Students in the group divide up the important themes from the story and work together to create pages for a booklet explaining each of the story’s main themes.
Since students usually enjoy moving around from station to station, working together, and working on hands-on projects, some of these ideas will hopefully encourage them to enjoy the novel while they are reading it, rather than thinking about questions that they will have to answer.
Here is another idea, a FREE Yearbook Activity. This one is for the novel, Crash, by Jerry Spinelli. You can find more novel freebies, as well as I Have . . . Who Has . . ? games and novel studies for other novels here.
This guest post is by Sharon Fabian, from the Classroom in the Middle blog. Sharon has spent over 20 years teaching English, reading, and other subjects to middle school students. She loves having more time now to create and write about resources for teachers – especially materials for teaching reading, vocabulary, and writing to students in grades 4 through 8. Here is the link to her store, also called Classroom in the Middle.