With the return to school more children than ever are dreading the things that make school hard for them. These things can include the following:

  • Essays
  • Tests
  • Homework
  • Speeches
  • Projects

There is one thing though that almost every student learns to loathe is the dreaded book report. Students don’t need to fear though because teachers are creating new ways to make this cornerstone assessment fun. Look no further to find some fun alternatives and middle school book report ideas.

T-Shirt Book Report

This book report is perfect to catch a student’s interest, especially for those whose strengths don’t lie with writing but on creativity and artistry. With this book report students are asked to design a custom shirt that matches the book that they read. Materials and designs should be left to the student, the only writing they are asked to do is a half page to page (teachers can adapt this to what their students need) that explains their choices. Students will then share their shirts with their classmates

PROS

  • Good to give students a break from writing
  • Helps students to be creative and independent
  • Helps students to be able to explore symbolism
  • Gives students the opportunity to present to classmates

CONS

  • Can easily frustrate some students
  • Shirts aren’t the most cost effective material for a book report
  • Creating a paper shirt can be a way to counter this negative aspect
  • Some students who aren’t confident in their artistic abilities of speaking skills can be frustrated
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Act the Part

Have students dress up like their favorite character in their book that isn’t the main character. Each student should then give a verbal book report that re-tells the story from their character’s perspective. This allows students the opportunity to practice presentation skills and asks them to think critically about how they will physically represent their chosen character and how to retell the story.

PROS

  • Students love dressing up!
  • Allowing students to retell the story will allow students to be creative and test their knowledge of the story.
  • Supports students speaking and listening skills

CONS

  • Some students may need help creating a costume
  • A classroom closet can help students who may not be able to afford a costume or extra clothes
  • Sometimes costumes can be a distraction for other students, teachers and classrooms

Bookmarks

This project is more traditional than the ones that are listed above but they are still a student favorite, not to mention they are the perfect project for the start of the year. After reading the first book for the year, students create and design their own bookmark. The front side should be one that uses the book they just read as inspiration and the back should be open for them to decorate as they want. After the bookmarks are complete, get them laminated and have students explain the choices they made. Afterwards they have a bookmark they can use in class the rest of the year and you will know a little more about them.

PROS

  • This is an assignment easy to execute as a teacher and student
  • This helps students convey their interests and hobbies
  • Students can have a physical project to hold onto for the rest of the year
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CONS

  • Students may rush this project
  • This project isn’t as much of a test on student’s knowledge of the book as some other projects
  • Some students may lose their book mark easily

The Takeaway

Book reports don’t always have to be the pen and paper report that many are so familiar with. Book reports can be tasks, presentations and artifacts the students can create to show their knowledge over the material. These are only simple examples of alternatives that can be used, there are so many other creative ways to do middle school book reports.