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General Book Ideas
Ideas for activities that you can do when you're studying a book

I would welcome ideas of other activities to add to this list!



Letters / postcards

Write a letter as a character in the book to another character in the book, a new invented character or a real-life character. For example you could write a letter as Tracy Beaker (from Jacqueline Wilson's book) to the Prime Minister asking him to do something about foster homes or to the local police asking them to help her find her mum.

Another activity is for the children to write a letter from them to a character in the book. The teacher could, I suppose, write replies back or replies could be written by a class higher up the school. Where good relations exist pupils at the local secondary school could be drafted in to take on the role of the characters in the book. On rare occasions perhaps the book's author could get involved. [You could split your class into two and get them to send the letters to each other]
Author contact


Get the children to write a letter to the author. They could even include some samples of the work they've been doing. Contact the author's publisher or publicist to find out the best address to send stuff to before you post a large package! Also write first to see what sort of response to the letters you could get - that way the children won't be too crushed when you've told them they might get individual replies and they don't even get a response back.

If possible you could see if you could invite the author into school or see if your local library could organise an event with the author for a few classes from schools in the local area.

Maps
  • Draw maps related to the location(s) in the text.
  • Use maps in the text as a basis for creative writing.
  • Create a tour guide for a place in the story (advert for place etc.)
Point of view
  • Re-tell some events in the story from another characters point of view.
  • Tell the story as an impartial observer.
  • Report as a newspaper journalist. (create a newspaper story/page)
Interviews
  • Write a written interview with one of the characters in the story (or one child writes the questions, another answers them)
  • Take on the role of a character in a taped interview (teacher takes on role children ask questions or child takes on role and teacher/children ask questions)
Character Diary
  • Write the diary of a character in the story.
Character Casting

Give the children a selection of photographs of people. Get them to imagine that they're putting on a stage play of the book. Which person would they choose for which role. Why would they make that choice? Get them to talk about their understanding of the characters in the book. What would their 'actor' or 'actress' have to wear to become the character? What would their 'actor' or 'actress' also have to do (what characteristics would they have to take on) in order to give a convincing performance as the character?
Continue / Change Story
  • Continue the story after the book has finished.
  • Fill in missing scenes from the story that must have happened but the author hasn't included
  • Write a sequel to the story
  • Predict what could happen next in the story
  • Change the story by changing the actions of one of the characters in the story
  • Change the story by changing the character of one of the people in the story (e.g. making a villain a hero instead)
  • Change the story (or a scene in the story) by adding an additional character or removing one of the existing characters causing a different chain of events
  • Write the story in a different style and change the events accordingly (e.g. turn a real-life story into a fantasy/sci-fi one or a nursery rhyme!)
  • Change the story into a different format e.g. children's book, comic strip, play, poem, newspaper article etc.
  • Write a story about an earlier/later event in a selected character's life
Role Play
  • Act out part of the story.
  • Act out a scene. Stop the scene at a critical point and brainstorm possible outcomes. Experiment with outcomes not included in the original story.
Possessions
  • Make a list of the posessions of a character
  • Describe a character's bedroom
  • Make a list of the things you think a character would like and dislike
  • Create an I.D. card or passport for a character in the book
Starting in the wrong place

Start a book in the wrong place (a chapter or so in). Get the children to try and work out what events might have led up to the chapter that they have just heard.
Get artisitic...
  • Write poems inspired by events/situations in the book
  • Draw pictures of characters from the book
  • Draw pictures of locations from the book
  • Compose a sound story - using instruments to convey the events in the book
  • Write a song about the story!
Book covers
  • Write the blurb for the back of a book
  • Create a suitable cover for the book
  • Design an advert for the book (for the press, radio or TV... for the last two choose suitable extracts to perform if needed)
  • Write a review of the book
Adding the Narrative (idea by Richard Briar)
Do your children just write stories as a whole load of speech? Pull out the speech from a story and ask them to fill in the missing narrative to make it as exciting as they can. Look at this example sheet that Richard Briar has produced. CLICK HERE




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