A couple of weeks ago I posed the following question on both this blog and the Schoolhouse Review Crew Forum:
Do you think it is important to have your child do a formal book report (of some kind) after reading a book?
I received several responses, of which I really appreciated.
There was a reason that I asked the question. Up until just a few weeks ago, my kids have been fairly reluctant readers. Yes, they read when they were told to, but they just did it because it was required. There was no spark, no interest, no joy. I am an avid reader and so desperately want my kids to be, as well!
A couple of weeks ago I started requiring the kids (now ages 9 and 7) to read age-appropriate chapter books. I let them start out with graphic novels. Eli really seemed to enjoy them. And, Brynne moved on to read the first book of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. They liked what they were reading. I saw smiles and received no complaints when I told them it was time to read.
Eli moved into the Captain Underpants series. He read the first two books in 6 days. As soon as he was done with the second book he said, "When do I get the third book?" While he was reading them, I would observe him smiling and giggling. A couple of times when I told them that time was up, he would say, "No, I'm going to read to the end of this chapter."
Last year Brynne read a few of the books from the Puppy Place series. She would read about one chapter a day. It would take her close to two weeks to read a book. I bought her a new one (because our library doesn't have that series ... Boooo!). She is breezing through it. She said that she likes them so much more this year than last year!
Of course the second they were each done with their first chapter books, I was looking for a book report form. And then I paused .... If I have them do a book report, will it kill their love of reading? My fear is that they will dread reading a book because of the work they will have to do when they are done.
So that's when I asked the question.
After reading all of the responses, and really thinking about them, I have come up with this plan. The kids will not be required to do any kind of formal reporting of their books they read independently. They will get to choose those books based on interest and will be allowed to read them for fun (even though they are required to read for 30 minutes a day).
However, I am always reading them a novel/chapter book of some kind. Sometimes it goes with our current unit study. Sometimes it doesn't. But I am planning to require some kind of formal report of those read-alouds. I do believe book reports are important for many reasons. My problem was just that I didn't want them to ruin my kids' joy of reading.
I love the cereal box reports, dioramas, written forms, etc., there are out there. There are a gazillion different forms and styles of reports. And we will touch on many of them.
We won't do many of them for the remainder of this year. But, next year, they will become a regular part of our school experience.
Thank you for taking the time to give me your opinion on this topic. It was VERY helpful!!