If you are looking for a fun way to help your students choose an independent novel, consider setting them up on an online date with a book! I use this activity as a way for students to choose a novel for independent reading time, but you could also use it as a way for students to choose a novel for a book report or other independent reading project.
First, you need to have access to enough books for each of your students. Try to select a group of appropriate books from different genres. Distribute the books to your students at random.
Once all of your students have a random novel, tell them that they will be creating an “Online Book Dating Profile” for that novel. They don’t need to know everything about the novel because the profile is created based only on the book cover, the title, and the blurb on the back of the book or inside the jacket cover. On my book dating profile, I have students complete the following sections:
Once students have created the profile, collect all the books and set up a bulletin board or wall in the classroom with a banner that reads “Fall In Love With A Book.” Under the banner, students can attach all the “Online Book Dating Profile” sheets that they have filled out.
Have your students look through the online book dating profiles on the wall or the bulletin board. When they find one they like, have them take it down. They have found their match!
After students have selected their book, I ask them to take a look at the cover, title, and blurb. Then, they complete a “First Date Impressions” assignment where they discuss what drew them to the book, what expectations they have, and if this is a typical book choice for them (see 2 images down to get a closer look).
Tell students they will now start dating this book. I give time in class for this, so that they actually give the book a try. Tell students they cannot abandon their book immediately. They have to give the book a chance by reading at least a few chapters. Just for fun, I also like to give my students bookmarks as gifts that read, “Shh…I’m on a date with my book.” (See picture below).
After students have been reading the book for a few days, you can also ask them to “Rate Your Date”. In this writing assignment, students must decide if they will continue reading this book or choose another and give reasons for their choice!
As a final assignment, after students have finished a novel, have them tell their “Love Story” with a writing assignment that has them analyze story elements (character, plot, theme, conflict, setting) of the book. You might also consider having students share this information with a book talk!
If you would rather not make your own assignments/bulletin board, I have them available in my store here: ONLINE DATE WITH A BOOK. A Google Slides version of the assignment is also included if you have a digital classroom :).
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I’m a curriculum writer, literacy educator, and all around book lover with a passion for helping English teachers engage their students with creative, high-quality resources. My mission? To make life a lot easier for you, teacher-friend!
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