Independent Reading Projects

These projects are to encourage you to read beyond the texts we study in class. It’s good to get in the habit of reading “extra.” Studies show that active readers have better vocabularies, reading comprehension, and writing skills. The projects also allow you to present your book to the class giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your oral presentation skills.

The first step in beginning the project is selecting a book to read. It may be fiction or nonfiction and must be at an appropriate reading level. If you have questions regarding the appropriateness of your book, please ask Ms. Waldie! Once you have chosen your book, you need to choose two projects to create and present to the class at the end of the semester.

Project Options

In the News Create the front page of a newspaper that tells about events and characters in your book. The newspaper page might include weather reports, an editorial or editorial cartoon, advertisements, etc. The title of the newspaper should be something appropriate to the book. The front page should look as much like a real newspaper as possible with writing in columns, headlines, a proper title, “Letters to the Editor,” horoscopes for important characters, comic strips, personal ads, an obituary section, or anything else you might find in a newspaper! Everything you include, however, must be based on events and characters in the book you read.

News Report Pretend that you are an anchorman or anchorwoman for T.V. network. Write paragraph=long news snippets for a breaking story from your book. Dress up as a professional and perform the news. This project may be recorded before=hand. Watch a few different news shows to get a feel for the way they speak, write, and deliver the news.

Script It Write a movie script for your favorite scene. At the top of the script, assign real-life T.V. or movie stars to play each role. Be prepared to tell why you chose these actors/actresses for each part.

Sculpt It Create a sculpture of a character from your book. Use any combination of soap, wood, clay, sticks, wire, stones, old toy pieces, or any other object. To be clear, this is a sculpted object, not a drawing! So be sure to use tactile objects and materials to sculpt your character. Also, make sure the sculpture is big enough for observers to see details of the character’s face. An explanation of how this character fits into the book, and why you chose to depict them the way you did should be explained when you present it.

Scrapbook Create a scrapbook for one of the main characters that reflects the many events that occur to him or her in the novel you read. You can include photographs, letters, postcards, telegrams, a family tree, newspaper article clippings, memorable items, or anything else you can think of that you might find in a scrapbook. If you include objects or photographs, be sure to write captions below describing what they are or its significance to the character. Also be sure to create a nice cover for the scrapbook.

Map If you book you chose has a number of locations within a town, country, or geographical area, create a map. First, make a list of all the locations- houses, stores, streets, parks, lakes, etc. mentioned in your book’s setting. Then, draw the map showing a bird’s eye view of the area. Be sure to clearly label all locations. Below the map, create a legend with a list of all locations and a description of important events that occur at each location. Make sure your map has lots of details, is colorful, and large enough to be seen clearly.

Timeline Brainstorm a list of all the major events in the plot from the beginning to end and organize them. Create a timeline using a poster board or a long strip of butcher paper (Ms. Waldie will be happy to assist with materials!). On your timeline, write a short description of what happens for each event and, if possible, try to identify the time of each event with dates, seasons, etc. Add pictures and symbols to make your timeline colorful. Make sure to include a minimum of 8 events on your timeline.

Character Trait Diagram Create a Venn diagram to illustrate similarities and differences in the traits of two of the main characters from your book. Draw the Venn diagram on a piece of poster board. You may also choose to show the similarities between a main character and yourself.

Sell It Pretend to be a publicist for the book that you chose. Write and then deliver a 60 second speech that will persuade other students that they should read this book. Writing and speaking persuasively will be especially difficult if you didn’t like the book. If that’s the case, share that fact after completing the speech.

Interview a Character Compose six to eight questions to ask a main character in the book that you chose. Write the character’s response to each question. The questions and answers should provide information that show the student read the book without giving away too many spoilers!

Create a Comic Turn your book, or significant parts of it, into a comic! Be sure to include comic-style illustrations and dialog bubbles.

Create a Picture Book Turn your book into a picture book version of the story. Make sure that the images and text would appeal to the proper audience, younger students!

Character Trait Chart Create a chart with three columns. Each column will be headed with the name of one of the book’s characters. As you read the book, keep a record of traits each character possesses and include an incident that supports each trait. Use examples of both direct and indirect characterization!

“Dear Diary” Create a diary or journal and write at least five entries that might have been written by a character in the book you chose. The entries should share details about the story that will prove you have read the book.

Make a New Book Jacket This should include an attractive picture or cover design, an original summary of the book, information on the author and illustrator, and information about the other books made by the same author. Look at other books for examples.

Play it Again Select at least 8 songs that remind you of the book. You will need to create both a CD holder/case and a track list of the songs. The CD holder should include the names of the songs listed on the back and should be decorated in relation to the book. Be prepared to explain to the class why you chose each song and how each song relates to the book.

Brown Bag Report Think of at least five objects (seven maximum) that represent different characters and events in the book you chose. You can use real things or make them yourself. Make sure to decorate the bag in relation to the book and be prepared to talk about each item in connection to the book.

Journals Write seven reaction journals (one page in length) that discuss various thoughts you have as you are reading the book. Do not wait until the end of the book to compose these journals! The goal is to record fresh reactions to the characters, settings, and events that have happened in the book you chose.

Continue the Story Write a scene that could have happened at the end of the book you chose. After you write the scene, be prepared to explain the impact this scene would have had on the ending of your book.

Create a Board Game After reading, create a board game based on the events and characters in the book you read. By playing your game, members of the class should learn what happened in your book. Your game must include the following: a game board, a rule sheet and clear directions, events and characters from the story on cards or on the game board.

Plan a Party Design an invitation to the party which would appeal to all of the characters. Write detailed descriptions and explanations of what each character would wear to the party (at least five different characters). Chose and explain what food you would serve. Tell us what games or entertainment you will provide and explain why these choices are appropriate. Also, explain how each of the characters will behave at the party.

Movie Poster Design a movie poster for the book you read. Remember the components/organization of a movie poster. Cast the major characters and prepare to explain your casting choices to the class. Remember, you are trying to persuade people to see the movie based on the book, so your writing should be persuasive!

Test Maker Make a test for the book you read. Include ten true or false questions, ten multiple choice questions, and ten short answer/essay questions. Your questions should be original and realistically challenging for your grade level. Provide an answer key with complete answers to each question. While presenting to the class, share one question and its answer from each section.

***Other ideas are possible, but you must have prior approval from Ms. Waldie. Also, please ask Ms. Waldie for assistance in obtaining materials for your projects!