Extraordinary Book Reports For the Win


Previously posted on May 24, 2015, at homescool.ph

After more than a decade of homeschooling, one of most prized treasures we’ve found as a family is the wonderful world of literature, children’s literature in particular.  Oh my, if only I can take a yearlong break and hide in an island and devour all these amazing classics and new titles coming fresh from the publishing house!

Though I was a bookworm prior to homeschooling, I was a “textbook worm”. I had no choice, I guess. I was a nerd who eventually completed a medical degree. In the earlier years when our homes always had a designated library (Oh, God bless my Mom for sourcing those books, books and more books from garage sales), I gravitated to Science books. It was there that my love for the Human Body/ Medicine was born. In the early 80s, I remember that 4-5 volume series where several pages were dedicated to an illness (definition, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and therapy).

A favorite set of books in elementary

I am so thankful that homeschooling opened the doors again for reading and this time, we are discovering so many well written and truly nurturing stories (both nonfiction and fiction). With 4 homeschooled children at one point, I was happily forced to read all their assigned or chosen “books” per quarter so I could properly help them understand and process the material.

Sad to say, I don’t have very fond memories of “book reports.” For one reason or another, back in high school, it really felt more like a required chore. I remember getting tips like buying the “abridged” versions of the assigned material just to “get it done and over with.” I do, however, remember enjoying Little Prince, The Pearl and The Catcher in the Rye but how I wish I read more during free time and summer!

But all is not lost! Thank God for the wonders of our “brains”! We can still catch up whatever we may have failed to “enjoy” mentally earlier.  Maybe that’s why I may be “virtually living my reading childhood” with my homeschooled students and have found ways for them to truly devour and enjoy their books!

In my process of learning how to inspire reading, I’ve found a vast amount of resources and ideas! And I would like to share with you some of my children’s books reports (level 1-4)

This is Marco’s Fact Book on planting rice, the main subject of this amazing book on hard work, courage and perseverance, Li Lun, Lad of Courage. For a rice dependent country like ours, I just knew we had to read this.
At level 1, Raya created this “school house” type of book report from a box of Papa’s bike part! Her book was a Sonlight recommended title, The Year of Miss Agnes.
You can add details like “Vocabulary, Lessons Learned, Characters and the like” around the project.
You can definitely expand the lessons as the reading material unfolds. Here Raya learns about the story’s setting, Alaska and the way of life of people there. Inspired by parts of the story where they created clothing from animal skin/fur, I taught Raya to make a yarn “pompom” (the one she sees hanging in bonnets worn in winter cold weather).
Raya turns the inside of the box into a classroom based on how it was described in the story. Maybe this is where Raya learned how to pay attention to details.
Another amazing Sonlight recommended chapter book, Grain of Rice. We had a whole unit on rice (we just had to for obvious reasons) and eventually also cooked rice and ate it! You can expand the lessons as the story proceeds. For this one, we had a lot to deal with for Math: Measurement, Multiplication and even Compound Interest.
Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary. a character description by grade 1 Gino.
For the book, Family Under the Bridge, Raya (at level 2) did a character study focusing on the changes in the main character, Armand Pouly.
Marco read “Al Capone Does My Shirts” and did a report by creating a “lap book” with the detailed map of Alcatraz Island and important facts. He eventually read book 2 and 3 during his free time. Photo credited to Starwoodquilter.blogspot.com. I will create a separate blog post on encouraging a reluctant reader.
I encouraged this book because we had plans to visit Alcatraz after that quarter. Quite amazing experience to be able to tie everything with this visit. Would you believe Mama teacher only chanced upon the book while browsing in Fully Booked, read a few pages and thought it may interest Marco.
Imagine having read an entire series based on this place and then actually being able visit it soon after? What a blessing indeed!
Historical fiction books are cool because it allows the child to understand a whole lot about the past in a very interesting and exciting manner.
Raya decided to recreate a Roman Villa set in the 200 A.D. While working on this, she had a chance to learn about the way of life of the Romans, particularly a slave girl named Iliona.
For this book, The Wheel and the School, Raya created a wheel to illustrate the parts of the story and other fun facts.
You can also use Filipino Chapter books! You may check Adarna House or author’s XiZug’s site for more titles. Instead of having to make an essay, I asked Raya to orally discuss the story and why students should vote for Andro (in Tagalog). This also allows her to practice conversing and I can correct her pronunciation and accentuation.
Or use Filipino/Social Studies material from Adarna House

The category where this post belongs to is Books & Beyond because the experience becomes truly endless when you have read a truly good book. Creative book reports help young children as they to learn from and live through a well written story. Let me leave with one of Raya’s Artwork about reading. Happy book reporting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: