Teacher’s File Drawer: Alternative Book Report—Character Scrapbook Book

As a teacher, and parent, I wanted my kids to read, and I didn’t want them to read just what I assigned them, I wanted them to read fiction they loved. However, as a teacher, that’s where the question of accountability kicks in. How can you tell the kids have really read a book they claim to have read? How can you make sharing what they read, and perhaps enticing others to try it, a fun exercise of literacy and other media skills? Enter, the alternative book report. I loved alternative book reports and plan to revisit this topic again and again.

Today, welcome the character-focused scrapbook. Here’s the assignment:

Create a Scrapbook

Imagine you are the main character in the novel you have recently enjoyed and create a scrapbook of that individual’s experiences.

The Criteria:

  1. Your scrapbook should be 8 pages in length (not counting the front and back covers) and use both sides of each page (with the exception of the back side of the title page).
  2. Your scrapbook should have a decorated cover that includes the character’s name, the title of the book you read, and the author’s name.
  3. Select or prepare your own drawings, clip art, or cut-outs from newspapers and magazines that relate to the main character’s experiences in the novel. Arrange them on your scrapbook’s pages. Be sure your artwork includes the use of color.
  4. Pretending you are the character, write a caption for each item.
  5. On the back cover of the scrapbook, write at least 3 paragraphs describing why you chose the pictures, materials, and decorations for your scrapbook that you did.
  6. Make an oral presentation before the class presenting your scrapbook and explaining how it relates to the book you read.

The Scrapbook Scoring Guide:

  • Created from the point of view of the main character (5)
  • 8 pages long using front and back sides, with the exception of the back side of the title page (8)
  • Cover:
  •           decorated (1)
  •           contains the main character’s name (1)
  •           contains the title and author of the book (1)
  • Art:
  •           at least one picture per page (1)
  •           artwork is neat and reflects effort in preparation (2)
  •           quality use of color (1)
  • Text:
  •           pictures are captioned (2)
  •           correct use of language conventions (2)
  •           description of process uses detail and supports ideas (4)
  • Oral Presentation:
  •           logical organization (2)
  •           rich ideas and content (2)
  •           appropriate language (2)
  •           engaging delivery (2)

Total points: 36

This project draws on inferential reading skills, requires the students to understand characterization and the impact of plot on character, and utilizes Bloom’s higher level synthesizing skills.

I so enjoyed seeing the scrapbooks my students created and so did their classmates. This was one set of oral presentations the rest of the class did not yawn through. All in all, the project was fun and I highly recommend it.