In this post we’re going beyond the usual book club activities for students to push our higher learners during small group or intervention times.
Leesuh, a Shared Teaching Podcast listener, admits to struggling with offering book clubs or readers’ theaters for her students not needing reading intervention. What else can our high students work on independently or with partners that go beyond these traditional activities but can be easier to manage?
Design a Book Cover
My first alternative book club activity is to have students design a book club cover. Students would first choose a book to read at their independent level. Once they finish the book they will create a new book cover that tells other readers about the book.
I would offer a set criteria or rubric for students on how you might grade this activity when finished. The rubric could also keep your students on track with your expectations for the completed project. I would then display the newly created book cover in the class library and have the students present their cover as a preview to entice other students to want to read the book.
Write a Readers’ Theater
After reading a chosen book, ask students to rewrite their favorite part of the book as a play. For this activity, students should already be familiar with readers’ theater scripts. Providing younger students with a script outline can improve the chance of students correctly completing the assignment. I would also recommend this as a partner activity.
When students are finished, ask them to present their short play to the class. Some students might even like training their friends to rehearse and perform their readers’ theater as they take on a directing role.
Choose a Passion Project
To keep students engaged and independent while I’m teaching small groups, I need to make sure they are working on something that interests them. This is where asking students to choose a passion project comes in.
Passion projects are often interchangeably called Genius Hour or Maker Spaces as well. Whatever we are calling them in our classes, students will get excited to learn more about something they want to know.
In the primary classroom, a passion project can be as simple as students looking up or researching the answer to a question they have. Susan Morrow of Keep ‘em Thinking, goes into more details in her blog post Passion Projects in Elementary School.
Reading Genres Contest
When students are allowed to independently pick their books, they often stick to one type of genre. Providing a tracking sheet and turning it into a contest can help students to try different genres.
Depending on how much accountability I want, I may design a simple recording sheet and have a check in at least once a week to have a quick conversation with the book they are reading. This idea is adapted from Donalyn Miller, author of the Book Whisperer, and her 40 Book Challenge.
Create a Review Game
Creating a review game for the class is one of my favorite alternative book club activities for students. To create a review game students will choose a current topic the class is studying. This does not have to be limited to reading but could extend to science, math, or social studies. Depending on my students I would choose this as an independent or partner activity.
Related Post: Student Created Games (to be released July 1st, 2023)
Assigning book club activities for students can be challenging if our students aren’t ready for the independence of running a book club with their peers during small group time. I hope you will try one of these activities instead.