When it comes to book activities for middle school students, they need to be fun and engaging! One of the best things about being English teachers is that we get the chance to be creative and have fun with our assignments for students.
For veteran and prospective teachers, we have 20 great and interesting book activities for your middle schoolers!
1. Do a VLOG
Coming up with the Video Blog option was such a success in my class! I had my students upload a quick one to three-minute videos on Google Classroom each week addressing the following: How many pages they read, new characters introduced, a brief summary of new happenings, and if they are still interested in the book.
Having students do this each week served also as independent reading logs.
Learn more: Visme
2. Create Graphic Novels or Comic Strips
No matter what grade level you teach, creating graphic novels is a creative idea that is fun for the entire class. I really love this cheap bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers because you can print up as many copies as you need and there are great explanations.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
3. Rotating Book Talks
There are lots of different ways to do a book talk. This method is a great alternative to the traditional book report and allows for active discussion of book details. The reason why I do "rotating" book talks, is because kids tend to get off task when they sit for too long.
Therefore, I would have a set list of questions that each student would discuss with their small group. After 8-10 minutes, students would then rotate to a different group of students.
4. Do an Activity From the Book
More than likely, you won't always be able to do an activity from the book. However, doing an activity from the book (when able) is a great way to incorporate field trip life experiences.
For example, if you are teaching The Hunger Games, get with your local game and fish organization for a fishing or archery lesson. Your students will never forget the experience of the book!
Learn more: News 4 Jax
5. Character Autopsy
Character autopsy sheet. During a whole-class reading activity, students select a character and then analyse the thoughts, feelings and actions, using quotations from the text. #TeamEnglish. pic.twitter.com/UhFXSEmjz0— Mr Moon (@MrMoonUK) November 27, 2018
This activity includes creativity and deep analytical thinking. First, you will need butcher paper, the text you're reading and the list of points to address. This activity allows students to find textual evidence to represent the head, heart, hands, feet, and eyes.
Learn more: Mr. Moon UK
6. Socratic Discussion
A Socratic discussion is (in my humble opinion) one of the best ways to discuss text analysis and key elements, and encourage respectful debate. This activity is especially good if you are reading controversial texts. If you are needing a good lesson plan or guide on how to do this, Read PBN has a free guide with tons of great lesson material.
Learn more: Read PBN
7. Create a Brochure
Last year, my students read the book Holes by Louis Sachar and loved it. I wanted to make sure I had some fun mini-lessons that would really get the kids interested in the book. One of our activities was making a brochure to sell the product "Sploosh" within the story.
I like to use heavier stock paper, but whatever you have will do. Make sure your students have the title of the product, art, the price, what it does, and why you (the customer) need it.
Learn more: PEAI
8. Film a Trailer
Did you know that Apple Movies has a way to create movie trailers? Out of my decade in public education, this was one of my favorite activities for students. After reading the book Code Talkers by Chester Nez, I assigned groups of 6-10 students to collaborate and film a movie trailer that hit the main points of this story.
This is a great way to incorporate a video graphic lesson and 21st-century digital tools. Also, you could even use this as one of your creative book report ideas.
Learn more: Apple, Inc.
9. Re-Create a Scene
Re-creating a scene from a story is a great assignment for students to show an in-depth understanding of a text. I like to do this with the famous romantic balcony scene of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. Students can use whatever jargon or dialect they choose to get the idea of the scene across to others.
Learn more: Regent's University London
10. Choral Reading
Classroom activities like these make students pay close attention to sentence structure. The thinking process shift from just reading to reading with a purpose. Allow students access to a short story on paper and ensure everyone has their own copy.
Learn more: Institute of Education Sciences
11. Pop Corn Reading
There is a lot of debate in education regarding pop-corn reading. However, I will say this, in my period of time in education I have realized that unless kids practice how to read out loud, they will struggle with fluency. Pop-corn reading is an activity that will work with an array of reading fluency lessons and be beneficial to students.
Learn more: Pinterest
12. Create a Cast
With any of our favorite texts, we can always imagine which actors/actresses would play our favorite characters. Ask your students, "If they were to make a video version of your favorite texts, who would play the parts?", and you will see some awesome creativity.
13. Create a Playlist
Creating a music playlist for students makes your students really think deeply about the perspective of the characters in a story.
Learn more: Apple Support
14. Food Day for Foods in the Book
Where there is food, there is interest! I have done many food days with text-themed stories and my students always loved it.
Learn more: The George Institute
15. Write a Letter from One Character to Another
This activity is a relevant option if you want a creative way for your students to display literary analysis skills. Writing a letter from one character to another challenges the thinking process and encourages analytical thinking.
Learn more: Grammarly
16. Go Back in Time!
If you read a time period novel, get in that time machine and go back to the time period your novel is based in. One of the best examples for me of this was reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and doing a 1920's themed class day.
17. Create a Collage
Need something to do with those old magazines? Make a collage that represents different aspects of the story and let the creativity fly.
Learn more: Shelley Klammer
18. Do a Literary Scavenger Hunt!
Scavenger hunts are so much fun. Simply print your clues on a 3 for your students to use. I really like searching on Teachers Pay Teachers for great scavenger hunt material.
Learn more: Free Kids Crafts
19. Do a Little Dance (Time Lines for the Story)
This one sounds a bit nuts, but, it makes the story come alive. When reading Macbeth, I taught my students all about the time period, including how dancing was a big deal. Take some time to learn and teach your students a dance from the story or the time period the story was written in.
Learn more: Thing Link
20. Do a Creative Presentation
One great way to show what you have learned is through making a presentation. Students can explain the different cast of characters, character names, character analysis, and storyline. There are so many different ways to present material that your students can get creative with the digital process.
Learn more: Teach Hub