Reimagining the Book Report

This film is a book report, actually a dramatization, of the last section of J. D. Salinger’s short story “For Esme–With Love and Squalor.” It was adapted and directed by a dyslexic eighth grade boy and performed by two of his classmates with the young man’s mother as narrator.Giving students every avenue into literature can be liberating for them as well as their teachers. Through this project, the student was able to imagine the story and recast it in a sophisticated level of literacy. Quite simply, he “owned” this story after the project; and, what’s even better, he began to see himself as capable, a good student. Though he could barely read when I started teaching him in sixth grade, he graduated in June 2006 from Dearborn High School with a 4.25 GPA. Maybe the arts do help!

Here is a puppet play adapted from D. J. McHale’s Pendragon IV: The Reality Bug. It is the work of an eighth grade girl, who made the puppets, wrote the script, and dircted her fellow puppeteers.In the assignment, students were given a choice of three different genres/modes of presentation.

The “Comic Book” Report

This is not a book report on comic books; rather, it is a comic book format for a book report. Remember those comic book versions of “great books” when you were a kid? This is the same thing–only student directed. What a fun way to learm condensing and summarizing! And what a good way to gauge a student’s mastery of a text.This assignment is appropriate not only for literature, but also serves well in social studies, history, science, math, or even in high school philosophy and psychology classes.

The Children’s Book Version Book Report

This assignment has students turn a book into a children’s version. It demands succinctness and great summarization skills. This assignment also could be adapted for science, social studies, philosophy, psychology, or even mathematics (say the story of Leonardo Fibonacci or the discovery of amicable numbers).

 An “Annie Oakley” Picture Book

“Homeless Bird” — Children’s Version

Large Format Children’s Book

Plato’s Gorgias

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