Book Reports Lesson Plan: Self and Peer Evaluation

Submitted by: Angela Watson

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, K-3

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-12, students use BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. resources to identify the elements of a comprehensive book report. Students then create a book report and present it to the class. They will also use a class-generated set of criteria to self-assess and evaluate the book reports of peers.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify the elements of a comprehensive book report.
  2. Create a book report and present it to the class.
  3. Use a class-generated set of criteria to self-assess and evaluate the book reports of peers.

Materials:

  • Computer and projector to watch BrainPOP as a class
  • Printed class set of BrainPOP activity pages
  • Printed class set of student-generated book report criteria for scoring and assessment

Vocabulary:

book report; genre; plot; setting; characters; theme; outline; introduction; summary; conclusion

Preparation:

Compose a list of book report criteria to use for your own reference as you facilitate students' discussion. Determine how many days you plan to allot to this lesson. You may also want to conduct several activities to get students excited about sharing their opinions on various books before they are introduced to the formal book report format. You could read aloud a book to the class and have students share their thoughts about it on VoiceThread using written or audio comments, or even a drawing or image. Encourage students to share opinions and ideas about books they're reading for class assignments and/or in their free time using VoiceThread. Get the class used to the idea of sharing things they liked, disliked, and learned when they read so that book reports become a natural and enjoyable part of their routine reading experiences!

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Brainstorm what students know about formal book reports. What is their purpose? Guide children to understand that book reports are a chance to share stories and information you enjoy, and help other people discover books they might love, as well.
  2. What do students think makes a compelling report on a book? If students do not have prior experiences with reports, talk about the information they would typically share when recommending a good book to a friend. Share real-world examples of book reports in the form of online book reviews and blog posts, or even clips from the book reports given on the former show Reading Rainbow. Encourage students who do have background knowledge and experience to think of outstanding presentations they've seen and talk about what made them interesting. Record their responses.
  3. Show either the BrainPOP Jr. or BrainPOP Book Report movie (depending on your students' ability levels.)
  4. Ask students to consider what they learned from the movie and revisit their original list of book report criteria. You may want to include criteria for being an attentive audience member during others' reports and discuss specifically what that looks like. Students who have more experience with book reports may want to talk about original and creative book report ideas; use the In Practice FYI page as a springboard for discussion.
  5. Tell students that they will have the opportunity to create and present a report on the book of their choosing. Explain any deadlines or special instructions you have for the assignment. You may wish to type the class' list of book report components and provide each student with a copy. The list might also include a grading scale that explains how many points each component is worth.
  6. Provide very young students and/or those who are emerging English readers/writers with the BrainPOP Jr. activity page as a guide for their reports. More advanced students may use the BrainPOP activity page to help them organize their thoughts and ideas prior to writing a formal report.
  7. Check in with students regularly as they read their books and form their reports. Keep the class list of components displayed for student reference. You can use various BrainPOP resources to reinforce expectations and keep students motivated and excited about sharing their reports. The BrainPOP Jr. sequence game can help students review the steps in creating a book report, and the BrainPOP experiment helps them prepare for the oral presentation.
  8. When students are ready to present their reports, review the criteria for book reports as well as audience participation. Have students assess themselves as well as their classmates through informal class discussion and/or by writing down feedback on photocopies of the report criteria that students generated.
  9. Display the reports (and, if possible, a copy of the books students read) in your class library to encourage students to read the books their peers recommended. You could also take a digital photo of each child holding his/her report and book and display it online or in the class library as a reminder of each book title and the person who reported on it.

Extension Activity:

You may wish to record students' presentations and publish them to a class blog, website, or a free online video site such as Vimeo. Encourage students to leave comments on the video entries after they've read one another's book recommendations and provide their own thoughts and opinions. If you've already incorporated VoiceThread into your reading routines, inspire students to continue their book discussions and create new ways to share what they're reading.