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Build the Love of Reading with Engaging Novel Study Activities

Novel Study Activities

Where do I even begin with all of the teaching options with novels that will help build the LOVE of reading? Probably with my all time favorite go-to activity for novels that hits so many standards and creates GREAT discussion circles. But I also LOVE whole group Novel Studies. Well, truthfully, any novel study I have done in my classroom! But let's start with Literature Circles!

Novel Studies in the Classroom

Literature Circles

Literature circles are always an engaging novel study activity that helps build the love of reading and responsibilty. For this novel study activity, each student gets a different job to complete when reading the assigned chapters. Each job is aligned to a different standard, so they can be customized to meet your grade level. By the end of the novel, each student should complete each job more than once but should not repeat a job until completing all 7 jobs.

The jobs in my literature circles include:

  1. Vocabulary Enricher - Find 5 words that you're unfamiliar with, look them up, and write down their definition and part of speech.

  2. Connector - Find a connection to a real news story, another book you’ve read, a poem, or any other formal piece of writing.

  3. Figurative Language Finder - Find 4 examples of figurative language. Explain their figurative meaning and their literal meaning.

  4. Discussion Director - Create 5 discussion questions. They should not be yes or no answers but rather thought provoking to create a discussion about a character, theme, plot, etc.

  5. Passage Master - Choose one important passage in the chapters. Be prepared to explain why you chose that passage.

  6. Summarizer - Objectively summarize the assigned chapters.

  7. Illustrator - Draw, cut out, or print a picture that illustrates a moment in the chapters.

Graphic Organizers

When don’t I love a graphic organizer? Sometimes students can get overwhelmed by a novel simply because of its sheer size, and we all know what happens when a kid is overwhelmed. They shut down. But a graphic organizer helps them narrow their focus to a specific task. For more reasons on why graphic organizers are such an awesome tool for your classroom, read Graphic Organizers: Literature, Nonfiction, and Writing Graphic Organizers to help your K-5 students. Don't have time to read all about my LOVE for Graphic Organizers, just click here to download a FREE set of graphic organizers!

Novel Study Units

Let’s be real honest, it’s April. We’re busy. We’re tired. And dare I say, some of us are burnt out. Being a teacher in 2022 is beyond anything any of us could have imagined. That’s why Teachers Pay Teachers is my go to for pre-made novel studies, and if you can’t remember life before it, you’re not alone. If you just cannot even think of one more creative idea, have no fear.

Click HERE to view a “ready for you” novel study on The Tiger Rising. There you’ll find plenty of standard’s based activities including:

  • Vocabulary Study

  • Character Study

  • Discussion Questions

  • Activities (Cause/Effect, Summary Writing, Compare/Contrast)

  • Wrap It Up Activity Suggestions

If you’re more interested in teaching Number the Stars, click HERE.

There are tons of novel study resources available on TPT and more being added each day. Don’t recreate the wheel!


Link Literature Standards to Informational Text

Linking Informational Text standards to novel studies transforms learning with my students. They can learn so much about life within the activities.

For example, if you choose a Historical Fiction novel like Number the Stars, the possibilities are endless. Have students complete a cross-curricular activity with the history teacher or research World War II, write an explanatory essay, and even present their findings. Hit those Writing and Speaking and Listening Standards as well!

Compare and Contrast Various Forms of the Story

Film, poetry, News articles, and Children’s stories, also provide students ample opportunity to dig deep into a text, analyze, and compare to the novel.

While I have a love/hate relationship with the film version of novels (because all readers know BOOKS ARE ALWAYS BETTER), when it comes to novel studies, watching the film version is a great way to help students recognize the similarities and differences between books and film.

There are so many activities for learning various ELA Standards within a novel study, but if you’re only using it to practice standards, you’re definitely missing out on an opportunity to save the youth of the world as well.


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