Friday, May 29, 2015

Paper Bag Book Report

Are you looking for a fun and creative literature activity?

Alyssa recently completed her Horizons Reading and Phonics curriculum so we started focusing more on reading comprehension activities. Paper Bag Book Reports were a popular activity in my classroom when I taught public school so I decided to try it with my daughter. This activity is motivating Alyssa to read literature and encouraging her to use her imagination. She is really enjoying it! She started her second paper bag book report this week immediately after presenting the first one.

Items Needed
Any Book or Story (Picture, Chapter, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Biography)
Pencil with Eraser
Crayons, Colored Pencils, or Markers
Book Report Form
Lunch Size Paper Bag
Household Items or Craft Art Supplies

Paper Bag Book Report
First, children select a book based on their interest and independent reading level. You can give younger children three options to choose from to make it a little less intimidating. Then, your child will read the book. You can read the book aloud for non-readers. They can jot down a short 1-2 sentence plot summary, brainstorm a list of relevant story items, or plan their paper bag illustrations with sketches.

Paper bag book reports may appeal to kinesthetic, hands-on learners but will also capture the interest of children with any learning style. It is a wonderful alternative to the standard book report forms your children may start to dislike or consider boring over time. They can be easily differentiated for reading levels and are adaptable for any grade level. Children can work at an individualized pace within the time period you give them to complete the project. Our assignment was very basic so the time spent on the project will vary depending on your expectations.

The paper bag activity is very versatile and can be used in several different ways:
  • Focus on one story element or all of them 
  • Each side of the paper bag can be dedicated to a particular story element
  • Show how the character changes from the beginning to the end
  • Each side of the bag can be a setting illustration
  • The bagged items can represent the main idea, characters, setting, problem, solution, plot, or theme
  • Use only illustrations on the bag and retell the story elements verbally using the significant items
  • Require the student to type and glue written pieces on the bag
  • Create or find a rubric online for grading purposes if desired. 
  • Utilize this project for EACH chapter in a book or for the entire book
  • Add in a vocabulary activity
  • Incorporate book evaluations including the likes and dislikes of the story
Note: The possibilities are endless. What would you do?

What We Did
Alyssa (Age 7 1/2) read Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka written by Tomie DePaola. She drew a picture of both of the main characters on the bag (front and back sides). The title and the author's name was written on the front of the bag. She was required to find 5-10 significant items related to the book and be able to explain how they were relevant to the story. We didn't focus on any story element this time around. My daughter presented her book report to me, but I may limit the presentation to 10-15 minutes next time. Alyssa wanted to tell me all of the story details during her first presentation. She included a book evaluation by telling me how many stars she gave the story and if she would recommend it to a friend.

Alyssa's Paper Bag Story Items
  • Dishes
  • Eating Utensils
  • Food (Chicken)
  • Moon (Setting - When the story took place)
  • Bed with Pillow (Jamie was lazy and slept a lot)
  • Jamie's Red Scarf
  • Map of Ireland (Setting - Where the story took place)
  • Magnetic Coat (Thank You Gift to Pooka)
  • Mirror (Pooka looked at himself in a full length mirror before leaving the dirty house)
  • Donkey=Pooka
  • Cleaning Cloth, Towel, or Rag 
It was a great way for me to check her understanding or comprehension of the main story elements during her retelling. It will help improve her presentation and public speaking skills. I plan on having her present the content to friends and relatives willing to listen. 

I will link this post up tomorrow at Share It Saturday

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