Ten Book Reports in a Year: the Package


books (Photo credit: brody4)

This is a book report package I have developed over nearly twenty years.  I started doing it with a regular grade seven class.  My object was to get the students reading both in quantity and quality.

As I learned more, I tweaked and modified both the unit and my goals.  I wanted my students to read better.  I also used this as an opportunity to teach them to write better and for different audiences.  It was an opportunity for them to learn to organise information on a page so visual and verbal were aesthetic and effective.  The short oral book report was practice in oral reports without notes.

Book Report - 57_Davi (1)

Book Report – 57_Davi (1) (Photo credit: CTJ Online)

The book list in the previous post was what I offered students a part of the package.  You may want to create your own lists.  I am sure you will want to modify the unit; I know I did every year!  I hope that the unit provides you with a some ideas you can work with.  If you are a new teacher, I sincerely hope that the unit will save you some time.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Included in this unit:

  1. Outline of the unit including purpose.
  2. Advice to students on how to choose a book.  Includes a crude but effective method of assessing reading levels appropriate to the student.
  3. Explanation of standard ways of doing a book report and what your expectations are.
  4. Advice to student on doing a good book report
  5. Short header to be written into Reading Journal
  6. Due dates (which you will undoubtedly change!)
  7. Chart to list books read and how they were reported (might be a good idea to give one to student and keep one for your records).
  8. Marking rubric based on Ontario curriculum and using 4 points: 3 being meets Ministry standards and 4 exceeds Ministry standards.  A copy for students clarifies your expectations and can be used for marking as well.  If you record the comments you circle, as well as marks, you will have detailed comments for reporting purposes.

The rubric looks complicated but it will save you time and give you a structured way of making sure you are covering the language curriculum.  It also gives children and parents something concrete to match to the marks.  It is too easy to become vague in comments on language.



Reading Assignment:  10 books in the school year


 i.     Exposure to a wide variety of writing

ii.     Training in metacognition during reading

iii.     Response to literature through opinion and art


Each of the first eight books must be from a different category, but you may read them in any order.  You cannot use your choice option until you do the other eight categories.  If you decide to do a book from which a movie has been made, you must see your teacher for instructions BEFORE you do your book report.  The smart folk see the teacher before they read the book.  You may not do a book report on a book written AFTER the movie was made.  Do not know what to read?  Check out the book list at the end of the package!


You will be expected to jot down your thoughts on what you have read each day in a reading log. You will be taught how to do the log.  When you finish the book, you will do a book report; you should use all four of the different reporting methods during the year.  Please see the explanations on the next page.  One of the first two book reports must be oral. Please record the title of your book and the date you reported it on the chart below after you have finished the book report.


You will have, usually, ten minutes a day to read in class and you must remember to have your book and reading log with you for every class in room 34.  The rest of the reading and preparation will be done as homework.

Book reports will be submitted or presented on or before the following dates:

October 5 

November 3

December 1

January 12

February 12

March 9 or 19

April 10

May 8

June 11

*****BONUS MARKS for one extra book report per term*****


1.  Written Report

  1. Say what the book was about.  This should take up no more than one third of your report and should not give away the end.
  2. Say what you thought of the book.  this should take up at least two thirds of the book and might include a discussion of:
    1. Plot
    2. Writing
    3. Character
    4. Setting
    5. Style
    6. Comparison with other books
    7. Why you liked the book OR
    8. Why you didn’t like the book
    9. If and why you would recommend it to someone else
    10. Why it would make a good Reading Club book
    11. Or any other opinion that crossed your mind as you read it.
  3. Your book report should be less than two full pages
  4. Headings are unnecessary; your clever use of topic sentences and transition sentences will make the report flow.

2.  Oral Report – much the same format as the written report but

  1. you will speak from short form notes, in other words, not a memorised report
  2. be prepared to answer questions.

Please let me know two weeks in advance if you want to do an oral report.

3.  Book Jacket – design a book jacket complete with:

  1. Illustrations
  2. Blurb.:  A blurb tells something  about the book in a way that will persuade people to buy it.
  3. Spine
  4. End papers:  The end papers might tell something about the author or other books by the author.  It might mention similar books by other authors.

HOT TIP: Do not attach the book jacket to the book. 

Do not copy the original jacket.

4.  Poster – design an attractive poster to persuade your classmates to read the book.

  1. Blurb a must! A blurb tells something about the book in a way that will persuade people to buy it.
  2. Use the principles of design.  Do not know what they are?   Talk to your art teacher!!!

5.  Your Own Idea  – let me know another way you would like to report on a book.

If you want to try something different please discuss it with me FIRST !!!

Reading Log

If you have not done this before, you may find it a bit frustrating; trust me, it will help you concentrate on the book and help you immensely with your book report. Follow the instructions carefully.

  1. Make sure you remember to write the title of the book & author.
  2. Each time you make an entry, write the date, the page and paragraph you are referring to.

After each reading session write one to three sentences that either complete one of the following:

I wonder …

            I am confused because …

            This reminds me of …

            I visualise …


Write those sentences on:

An interesting detail


What is important or interesting to me


         1.  By its cover

You can usually spot a book that you might find interesting because the picture on the cover or the blurb show something that interests you.  Are you a sports nut?  Look for book covers with picture of basketballs, football players or other sports figures.  Titles with the word tower in them almost guarantee adventure, fantasy or romance.

            2.  Ask a friend, a teacher or (especially) a librarian.

A friend might like, and dislike, the same things as you do.  A librarian knows what she has in the library and has heard many students’ comments on the books.

         3.  The five finger method. 

Some books are difficult to read; to find out if a book is going to be too difficult for you, open it to any full page.  Read the page.  Every time you hit a word you just do not understand put one finger down.  If you run out of fingers before you finish the page chances are that you might find the book a bit difficult to read.  If you do not have to put any fingers down, the book is probably too easy.  If you put down two fingers, the book is probably about right for you.

            4.  Stretch yourself once in a while.

Try a book that looks a bit more difficult than the ones you usually read.  Read about something that does not usually interest you.  Get stubborn and tough out a book you do not feel like finishing.  These are good ways to improve your reading and learn something new.

Tips for Good Book Reports

  1. Start early.

  2. When in doubt about the category or anything else, check with your teacher or the librarian.
  3. Make the entry in your reading journal daily and immediately.
  4. Read the rubric (below) before you start your book report.
  5. Always say what you think of the book and not what you think you should think.
  6. Use your own ideas whether for opinions or artwork.
  7. Support your opinions with examples from the book.
  8. Use the two-thirds, one third rule; at least two-thirds of your book report should be your opinion, no more than one-third should be summary.
  9. See # 4 before you do your final copy.








 (written & oral)

identify the main ideas in information

main ideas not identified; summary is more than half of report some of the main ideas identified or some of the ideas identified are relatively unimportant; summary is more than one-third of report most of the main ideas identified; summary is no more than one-third of the report all or the most important ideas identified; summary and comments are seamlessly integrated

Your comments

(written & oral)

make judgements and draw conclusions about ideas in written materials on the basis of evidence

comments vague; no use of evidence from the book; no use of judgement; no conclusions drawn; comments are less than a third of report; ideas disorganised some level one characteristics but comments are specific or there is some use of evidence from the book and judgement is exercised or conclusions are drawn; comments are less than half the report; ideas show weak organisation. Specific comments; clear use of evidence to support the comments; good exercise of evidence (fact and logic) in making judgements or drawing conclusions; comments are two-thirds of report; clear organisation of ideas. Level three characteristics but comments are insightful beyond grade level; comments are seamlessly integrated with summary.

Language conventions

(anything written)

Grammar, punctuation, spelling, room 34 style expectations.

grade level expectations for grammar, spelling or  punctuation not met;  little evidence of grade level vocabulary. approaching ministry standards for language conventions; several errors in use of vocabulary for grade level; using vocabulary that is not yet in his or her active vocabulary meets ministry standards for language conventions; generally accurate use of vocabulary for grade level exceeds ministry standard for language conventions; precise use of vocabulary

Presentation (oral)

Regularly incorporate new vocabulary into discussions and presentations; use words and phrases to signal that a new or important point is about to be made (eg. My central point is…, Note that…, First…, Second…, Third…); use analogies and comparisons to develop and clarify ideas; use repetition for emphasis

read from a written paper, no eye contact with audience; voice unclear or inaudible, words mispronounced; conventions unused. memorised, poor eye contact with audience, voice audible, occasional word mispronounced; conventions poorly used. spoken, referring occasionally to notes; eye contact with audience, expression, clear voice, good pronunciation; conventions used well. spoken without notes or with only one or two references to them; excellent eye contact with audience, natural and effective expression, clear voice, excellent pronunciation; conventions used appropriately and effectively.


(poster or book jacket)

Organise information and ideas creatively as well as logically

information and ideas organised with minimal creativity or logic; illustrations are not linked to book or are copied directly from book or related source; blurb is not integrated into design; messy, pen and pencil used inappropriately. information and ideas organised with evidence of either creativity or logic, but not both; blurb is poorly integrated into design; illustrations are weakly related to book or cut and pasted from related source; untidy or inappropriate use of pen and pencil; if a book jacket, no end papers or use of end papers or spine information and ideas organised with evidence of both creativity and logic; clear link between illustrations and book; if illustrations are cut and pasted then there is evidence of creative thought in their use; blurb is integrated into the design; if a book jacket, end papers and spine included and used appropriately evidence of exceptional creativity and logic in design; blurb is part of the design; illustrations are original; design reflects a good understanding of principles taught in art; if a book jacket, is well proportioned.


(poster or book jacket)

using appropriate language communicate ideas to specific audiences, for specific purposes

blurb makes no attempt to persuade the reader to buy blurb makes some attempt to persuade the reader to buy but is mainly a summary or shows no sense of the style appropriate to a blurb. blurb is clearly designed to persuade but is not entirely effective or is not entirely consistent with a style appropriate for a blurb blurb is an appropriate style, consistent and persuasive; if a book jacket, information on end papers is not copied but shows some research or original thought
Name: Class:

List of reports 






Animal Story        
Historical Fiction        
Science Fiction/Fantasy        
Non-fiction (poetry, history, science, opinion)        
Your choice     May 8, Term 3  
Your choice     June 11,  Term 3  
Bonus book report Term One        
Bonus book report Term Two        
Bonus book report Term Three        
English: Book Jacket for the novel Billy Budd

English: Book Jacket for the novel Billy Budd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Japanese book with a dust jacket

A Japanese book with a dust jacket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


About Diane Scaiff

Education fascinates me as a teacher, a learner and observer. I constantly wonder why certain things work and others don't, why we are told to teach in ways that are not sound, pedagogically, when we all know better. I also wonder about the impact of teaching on teachers' lives. Does it change us? Does it affect our families? What about the effect of public perceptions of teachers and our roles in the communities? How can we be scapegoats once day and saints the next? How do we deal with this? How are students affected by these perceptions? I hope to address some of these questions and more that arise from my readers as time goes on. There may be no answers, but asking questions is important. Diane B.A. (hons), Dip R.S.A., M.A.(Ed) 25 years of teaching elementary students and adults, Qualified in ESL and adaptive education.
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3 Responses to Ten Book Reports in a Year: the Package

  1. Pingback: Writing A – week 8, Thursday June 7th, 2012 | From Sheffner's Office シェフナ研究室のブログ

  2. Pingback: Writing A – week 9, Thursday June 14th, 2012 | From Sheffner's Office シェフナ研究室のブログ

  3. britinara says:

    Very useful. Very smart of you to put together this package, saving you time over the years, and then to share it with others.

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