Alternatives to Book Reports

Book reports! Do you hear that word and just cringe? Because I can almost guarantee your students do! I am a very avid reader and always have been. I was the kid in school that was excited about the assigned reading. But you say book report? And suddenly you’ve lost me. 

There are better ways to analyze and talk about books than book reports, and so many teachers are using these ideas in their own classrooms already! Let’s compile a list so that next time you need to grade your students on reading and analyzing a book, you can do it in style! 

Partner interview: The assignment is simple- The students are paired up and told that their job is to check if their partner has actually read the assigned reading or not. Have them come up with hard questions for each other and let them naturally discuss the book together by testing one another. Let them report back to you whether or not their partner has read the book! 

Book talk: Pull the students aside to have a book talk. Even if you haven’t read the book they chose to read, there are still plenty of questions you can ask to know if they really read it or not. 

Create social media profiles for the book characters: Let them choose the character’s handle, bio, what they would put for their link in their bio, and the first 6-8 pictures on their feed, captions included. 

Rewrite the ending: Instead of writing a book report, let them rewrite the ending of their book in a way they would want to see it end. 

Role-play the book: This is best done in groups, but let them role-play a quick version of the book, give them specific points to include (intro, rising action, climax, resolution, etc), and let their creative juices do the talking. 

Let them extend the story: Want them writing, but also want to avoid a book report? Ask them to continue the story from where it left off. Where would the characters go next? What would the next problem be that they have to solve? How would they solve it? 

What other ways do you avoid book reports in your classroom? Do you find traditional book reports to be effective, or do you prefer alternative options?