When students feel engaged in a novel, they enjoy reading more, examine the text critically, and understand the story better. As a teacher, you can spark interest in your students by helping them feel engaged in a book and all its characters, themes, and settings.
A few tips are all you need to get your class’s engines revving as they prepare to dive into the next class novel. Consider these suggestions and whether you think they’ll spark your students’ curiosity and get them excited about reading.
Plan an Author Study
Learning more about an author gives deeper insight into factors that contribute to their work and themes readers may discover in their work. Help your students learn more about your next class novel’s author with an author study.
Engage your class by having them read or watch an online interview with the author. Using mobile hotspots for schools is a good way to ensure that everyone in your class can participate in this acitivty. Consider engaging homework activities such as letting your class create an interactive illustrated timeline of the author’s life. If your class has students who come from underserved communities and lack internet at home, your school may want to consider partnering with nonprofits that provide hotspots for students that they can use at home. The timeline can include buttons or items to interact with.
Create a Symbolism Suitcase
This suggestion is a great way to not only engage your students with the next class novel, but also teach them about symbolism while engaging their critical-thinking skills. Fill a bag or suitcase with items from the novel that bear powerful symbolism. The goal is for your class to understand what the items mean and figure out how they connect to the text.
If you can’t find tangible objects, use images. No matter if you use physical objects or images of objects, you’ll engage your students without spending a lot of money introducing them to the next class novel.
Collaborative Research Project
Collaborative research projects give students the chance to learn and work together, which can introduce them to unique perspectives and interpretations of a novel. Come up with collaborative research project requirements and guidelines. Then, create topics for groups to research, such as studying the novel’s political, social, and historical themes and background. Have your students write a group report and use their findings to create a slideshow to present their research to the class.
First-Chapter Audio Preview
Audio previews help build tension and excitement, so students become eager to read the next class novel. Let your class listen to someone read the first chapter or the first few pages of the novel. This lets your students engage with the text through their listening skills and visualize the action happening on the page.
Not to worry if you can’t find an audiobook. You can narrate the preview and play it back to your class, letting them hear your interpretation of character voices. After playing the preview, maintain your students’ engagement by asking them what they think happens next in the story.
Learning stations are cooperative learning activities that get students up and moving and engaged. You can create different learning stations that help students explore various aspects of the text.
For instance, you can have a Preview station where you show the cover of the book and ask your students what they think the book’s about based on what they see. You can also set up a Predict station where students study the book’s organization, genre, and table of contents before they predict what happens in the plot.
Sparking creativity in students and providing them with the tools they need to succeed in and out of the classroom is the ultimate teacher’s dream. Make that dream an engaging reality by using the above suggestions to introduce your next class novel.
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