Wednesday, December 7, 2011
This year we are learning how to do book reports. Now that third grade homesteader can read quite well, he can pick out some of his own books at the library. After our friend and former librarian gave him "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", there has been no stopping him. Thank you for the genius of Jeff Kinney, in writing his series of graphic novels for elementary age boys. My older sons did not start reading for pleasure until they were ages 10 and 12, respectively. And what got them going? Harry Potter, and Goosebumps. Never underestimate the power of children's literature.
Our lesson plans from Catholic Heritage Curriculum provide 3 basic formats to use for book reports - written, oral and hands-on. For starters we are using the fill-in-the-blank form provided for a beginner's written report. By the end of the year, the goal is to have him use the decorative lined papers and completely write out his entire report, including narrative detail (why not shoot for the stars?!).
The oral report format also has simple guidelines for my beginner, with the goal of a dramatic presentation or speech by year's end (no problem there).
The hands-on report format is the most loosely structured, and potentially most creative. Students are encouraged to use their imagination in creating a project which will tell the story or a part of the story in their chosen book. Suggestions are: make a shadow box, a model of part of the story, a storyboard, illustrated story book for a younger sibling or friend, puppet show, etc. (This could be really fun!!)
I like the variety of choices for book reports that Catholic Heritage Curriculum offers to my 8 year old son. I see each format helping him to hone his communication skills, written and verbal, in practical ways. At the same time, he is encouraged to focus on what he is reading, in order to retain the content and relay it to his audience - his family.