By Rebecca Kelliher
When you have a child who hates to write, short book reports can be just as daunting as a full-fledged research paper! Many of us have kids who don’t like to write or can’t write. What is to be done?
STEP AWAY FROM THE FORMAL BOOK REPORT
I know you just caught your breath.
Have no fear. Help is here! What you have to do is separate the comprehension from the writing problem. Think outside the book report box, and you’ll have lots of ways for your child to show you they understood what they read. And if they show you they didn’t? Get some comprehension strategies.
KEEP IT SIMPLE IN THE BEGINNING.
Especially for the younger kiddos or those who have difficulty understanding “how” and “why” questions, you need to start on a basic level. Teach them about problem and solution. Even your preschoolers can do this. Fold a paper into fourths. Write “problem” in one box and “solution” in another. Then choose two other things you want your kids to share. Perhaps, “one funny part” and “my favorite part” or “a scary part” and “two characters.” If your child has writing difficulty or can’t write well yet because of his age, let him draw the answers. Ta Da! You just did a book report on the simplest level.
LET YOUR CHILD MAKE A COMMERCIAL OR NEWS REPORT.
This is fun! With the plethora of technology available to non-techy people, you could record this project. This will inspire your more creative kids who hate pen and paper projects. You can even let them dress up like a news reporter talking about the book.
INTERVIEW YOUR CHILD AS A CHARACTER.
Adjust the level of interview question difficulty based on your child’s cognitive ability. For example, if I ask my son on the autism spectrum a “why” question, I often get a blank stare. I have to rephrase to get the same information. “What is it that made him . . .”, for example. Let your child dress up as the character if they like dress up, and then you can ask them questions that would help you see how they understood what they read.
DIORAMAS ARE STILL ALIVE.
Though you may have hated dioramas as a child, your student may love them! Don’t have a box? Let them build a scene (or multiple scenes!) with Legos or some other building toy. Have them tell you about each scene. Make them put them in order.
LET HER BECOME A POSTER CHILD.
Have an artsy kid on your hands who hates the writing process? Get some posterboard, some paints or markers, and let them loose. You could divide the posterboard and have her meet certain requirements.
ENJOY A PUPPET SHOW.
Why not let your child create a puppet and have the puppet deliver the book report?
Here’s a great idea. Read the book, then watch the movie! As your child watches the movie, have him take comparison/contrast notes. Make the paper into two columns and write the appropriate titles at the top. Then when he sees something that’s the same as the book, write it under “comparison.” When he sees something different, write it under “contrast.” This is a great first book report style.
START WITH BABY STEPS.
Kids are not automatically book-report ready at specific ages. You need to see where your child is and help him move step by step. It’s okay to do just a piece of a book report and practice that for a while. It’s also okay to walk your child through the process and do it with him. Think out loud and let him see and hear what you’re thinking.
DON’T GO IT ALONE.
You can find lots, I do indeed mean lots, of ideas all over the Internet. Pinterest, homeschooling blogs, chat groups — the opportunities abound!
I hope this list has started your creative book report juices flowing. In reality, if you can imagine it, you can make it a book report. Have fun!
Used by Permission: Originally Published at https://wellplannedgal.com/book-report-alternatives/