As always, reading was really my main focus with my class this year because some of them were struggling with decoding and comprehension while others just had no interest whatsoever in reading. We spent an hour every day reading together in our reading workshop and each child improved tremendously this year. In fact, by the end of the year, I could not get them to stop reading!
To emphasize the importance of reading and to show the students how much fun reading can be, I required the students to read a book each month and to do some sort of book report to show what they learned. Here's what we did each month!
The first one we did for September was a mini book book report. The kids got to make their own little books sharing what they remembered from the book and rating it too. I loved their adorable drawings and and their cute little handwriting!
October's book report was a pumpkin book report where I stretched their summary writing skills a bit. The students had to write what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the book. These turned out super cute and are available for purchase at my store.
Our next bookreport for November was a turkey book report. The students had to color, cut out, and assemble an adorable turkey and write book information on turkey feathers.
For December, since there are not as many school days, instead of doing a book report we did a project called "The 12 Books of Christmas." The goal for each student was to read 12 books in the month of December and make Christmas ornaments with the names of the books written on them to decorate a reading Christmas tree. In our end of the year recap, this was one of the kids' favorite projects!
January/ February's report was much more extensive and was more of a research paper than a book report. My family always teases me for assigning research reports for 2nd graders, but you have to start somewhere, right?! The ability to communicate through writing is a skill so few adults possess and I want every child that I work with to have a solid foundation in writing. I will kindly step off my soap-box now and get back to on topic.
In honor of President's Day, the students were required at the beginning of January to choose a president that they wanted to read a book about and write a report about. The students were required to write a 2 page report giving interesting information about the president (or president' relative) they studied and they share ideas for what they would do if they were president... in front of the class! Public speaking is another skill that few people are comfortable with... Start 'em young, I say! The students had the option to either dress up as the president or make a poster with pictures of the president but I did have some students who did both. Some of them really had some great ideas about what they would do if they were president and some were completely hilarious! The kids worked SO hard on their reports and did such an awesome job! I was so proud and impressed!
In March, I introduced the students to the mystery genre of books and we made book report sandwiches. I found the template for this in a book called The Creative Teacher that my best friend bought for me last year. It is available for purchase here and is full of fun teaching ideas. Several of my boys really got "on board" with reading this month because of discovering how fun mystery books can be! The kids loved being able to read their reports to the class!
In the past our final book report for April/ May was a Boxcar Children poster report. The students had to read a Boxcar Children book and then make a giant poster telling what the book was about. Many of the students typed their own reports and came up with some awesome ideas for decoration.
This year, though, I changed up the April/ May bookreport and had the students choose a book that had been made into a movie (like Peter Pan or Because of Winn Dixie). They had to read the book and then (like the Boxcar Children reports) had to make a poster advertising their book, including a star rating.
I hung all the posters in our hallway to show off all the kids' hard work!
Hmmm... make things enjoyable and students want to do it more?? What a novel idea!