Book Reports with Purpose

By Book Reports One Comment

Book Reports -Source: Pixabay CC0 License

Meaningful book reports to help students think deeply:

How do we challenge our students to use higher order thinking skills to help students think deeply about what they read? Book reports have always been a vital part of a librarians role. And, somehow we end up with students writing a summary or a description of the book.

How do we change the book report style?

To help students interpret the book or analyse the story deeply, we will need to encourage them to select a book of their choice and have them use different strategies and not summarization. Here are some thoughts:

1. Settings of the novel: Why has the author chosen the context to explain? Describe with evidence that demonstrates the difference between the settings in the story with your background. For example: Why was the story in the mountains,? How is it different from the city? Whey did the author choose the hills instead of the town? What are the implications of the settings on the goal/meaning/intent of the story?

2. Characterisation: Explain the protagonist, how is he/she is different from the other characters in the story? What part of the books describes the person as a stereotype or someone different. Explain the personality traits with examples. Explain the moods of the major and minor characters, their feelings, actions and thoughts.

3. Point of view? What point of view is the story written in? First person, second or third person? Why do you think he chose to write it in this format? How would the author have written the same story from another point of view? Give examples from the story.

4. Conflict: Students can identify the problem or the conflict in the story. Is it between people, nature versus human, self-conflict, society norms versus one development? Explain the conflict and how does the main character/protagonist grow or learn from the battle?

5. Theme and Symbols: Think and explain what the author’s purpose was to write this book? The subject of the novel is the big idea which is often universal, for example, it could be friendship, saving the environment. The symbols in the story are metaphors or symbols used to add depth and meaning to the story. They can be identified and explained with examples.

Reading Logs and DEAR

By Book Talk, General, Literacy, Readaloud, Reading and Writing, Reading Program, School Libraries No Comments

What is a Reading Log?

Are they useful? Do you think reading logs can help readers be accountable for what they are reading and how much they are reading?

Adding time and page numbers to the reading log – Will that accurately tell how much students are reading, why they are reading and what they have accomplished from their reading? Do we as adults follow it?

Reading logs are now being replaced by reading responses, that is nudging students to be analytical thinkers by carefully analyzing the structure and word choice of text while reading. An interesting article Goodbye Reading logs from Scholastic shows you how you can help build readers during your library classes with your students.

What is Dear?

DEAR – Drop everything and read is another opportunity provided for students to stop and read. Language class teachers often use this strategy to support learning in class. Librarians can also use DEAR for 10 minutes of their class and have students read with meaning, you may use graphic organizers to compare settings, characters or even the genre of the books or magazine that they are reading.

Other reading responses could be:

  1. Analyze the character in the book with someone you know or compare the character with your sibling?
  2. What is the author’s purpose, and how do you know that?
  3. If it’s a nonfiction book – compare and contrast.
  4. What are the facts and opinions in the passages, and explain them with pieces of evidence?
  5. What are the problems that you infer in the passage/story? What makes you say so?
  6. Identify the character’s point of view? Compare them with your views. (You can use emotions too)
  7. What current events come to your mind, while you are reading this passage?
  8. What connections can you make with history or modern-day technology?
  9. What inferences can you make about the passages you are reading?
  10. Identify some of the sensory words and create a poem with those words?
  11. Write five words or phrases that might summarize what you have read.
  12. Explain your reading with a metaphor or a meme.

Of course, teacher librarians will need to model the responses and demonstrate with an example so that students too can closely read with deeper comprehension.

Reading Aloud 3 -Visualization

By General, Readaloud, Reading and Writing, Visualization No Comments

How to connect with children so that their learning is deep and impactful?  Developing love for reading is the essential ingredient for success. Especially in this age and time, you can teach yourself any skill or any new knowledge. As educators, we know that reading aloud is critical but what and how do we read-aloud?

Using visualization as a reading strategy is essential. According to Reading Rockets: Good readers construct mental images as they read a text.

What is Visualization: It is a reading comprehension strategy. It allows the reader to imagine and have a picture in their mind. Visualisation helps the reader understand what the character in the story is doing, thinking or feeling and it helps you visualize the detailed description of the setting.

How do you ask children to visualise?  You prompt them with these cues: Visualization Cues you can use are: I see …… on the page… It makes me think that…; I imagine ….. I know this because …; I wonder…, I visualise…. because I see …… (You can create an anchor chart with these prompts)

Visualization helps transform students from passive to active readers, improving their reading comprehension while connecting their mental images with their prior knowledge making learning deep.

Why is visualisation important? Visualisation helps students and adults become:

  • Analytical readers and thinkers
  • Better communicators
  • Scriptwriters
  • Prepares them for the media business
  • Marketing business
  • Strategic Analysis business opportunities

Visualisation techniques have helped many successful people achieve their dreams because they have been able to practise their goals, achievements and outcomes through systematic visualisation and confidence.

Building imagery can be visual, it appeals to the sense of sight and plays the most significant role in the description in literature.

Auditory visualisation and imagery describe specific sounds that are happening within the story and can connect with one’s own experiences.

Olfactory imagery: Can describes a particular scent and lead to impactful learning especially when the reader connects the text with their personal experiences. Visualisation leads to better writers.

Some titles you can use to practice and visualize with your students are:

A Walk with Thambi by Lavanya Karthik

Mala’s Silver Anklets by Annie Besant

Rooster Raga by Natasha Sharma

Raz Plus: has over 5,000 eBooks and printed books to help you teach all forms of reading strategies that build successful readers.

The Queen Ant’s Birthday by Alleysey Sweeney

Owen and the Tortoise by Katie Knight

Pond Life by Susan Hartley

Imagine the Beach by Racheal Rice

Fishing in the Rain by David Cockcroft

And more…

Book Talk for Young Adults

By Book Talk, General No Comments

Young adults are hooked on to stories written by the west. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them, and many of them are written eloquently or have plots that appeal to the youth. Sometimes, these books are made into movies adding richness to their conversations. Let’s seize this opportunity to talk to young students about Indian fiction. Tap into their curiosity by showing them trailers about the Indian books or connecting Indian fiction to their lives. Indian stories have plots that Indian children can relate to. Many genres available describe teenage life, or politics or wildlife. Here are a few you can use to tap into their interests.

Talking of Muskaan by Himanjali Sankar. Muskaan is in hospital, fighting for her life. Three classmates “her former best friend Aaliya, the hottie Prateek, and the class topper Subhojoy” talk about Muskaan, and themselves. About school, home and the larger world, the school bus and the basketball court; about secrets that become burdens. And through their stories, twists and turns are revealed that drove Muskaan to try to kill herself. Funny and tragic by turns, Talking of Muskaan is a warm, moving novel about life and death and the young people caught in between. Click here to take a peek at this book.  
Jobless Clueless Reckless by Revathi Suresh. A coming of age story about a young girl coping with a mother who has cut herself off from society, a father who has no time with a family and that leaves Kavya with her brother. How will she cope with board exams looming close? A short trailer to nudge your students into trying out this book of hope, and life from a different lens.
Zombiestanby Mainak Dhar Cover illustration by Kunal Kundu. Watch the TrailerIt began with undead Taliban in Afghan villages”. In a world laid waste by this new terror, five unlikely companions come together in a devastated New Delhi” a seventeen-year-old boy dealing with the loss of his family, a US Navy SEAL trying to get back home, a middle-aged history professor, a young girl and her three-year-old brother. When they discover that the child may hold the key to ending the pestilence that threatens to destroy their world. An epic journey against terrible adversaries, both human and undead. Will they survive? Or will they too, like many before them, become undead citizens of Zombiestan?
Through the Killing Glass by Mainak Dhar and Cover illustration by Kunal Kundu
Sequel to Alice in Deadland.  Trailer of Alice in Deadland. After defeating the Red Guards and brokering peace with the colony of Biters, Alice believes that finally there will be peace in Wonderland, the human colony she has carved out of the Deadland.
But soon Alice and her band of soldiers find themselves at odds with the people of Wonderland. There are signs that the Central Committee in China are developing a weapon, more terrible and fearful than anything Alice has ever encountered before. Can Alice unite the people of Wonderland?
Praise for Alice in Deadland: ‘Dhar manages to pack in a lot of action on every page, so you don’t breathe easy.’ – Mint; ‘A must-read for those who love to read fast-paced novels with powerful characters.’