5 Ways to Respond to a Book

Rating and reviewing the books that they read is a great way for pupils to develop an idea of their own preferences, but it’s not the only way to respond to a book. When we visit schools and hear from them online, we are bowled over by the endless number of ways which classes use to respond to what they have read, each more creative than the last!

With that in mind, we wanted to share 5 of our favourites from schools taking part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge with you. We hope that these imaginative ideas will help you think outside the box as you continue on your reading journey!

Balloon Word Clouds

First up are these fantastic balloon word clouds from P6b at Simpson Primary School in West Lothian. Each pupil has written the title of their latest read, surrounded by associated words like character names and adjectives which describe the story. What a visual way to experiment with vocabulary!

Creating Illustrations

This next one is a classic for responding to a story or poem: creating your own illustrations. Drawings are another method of storytelling, encouraging pupils to pick out key moments from the text and use colour to show atmosphere and mood. As shown by P6/5 at Antonine Primary School in Falkirk, producing your own illustrations can also be a great thing to do if you’re sharing a story with other classes, helping to bring it to life for your audience.

Found Poetry

Reading is a great way into creative writing, so we love this found poetry created by P7M at Kirkcaldy West Primary School in Fife, using pages of Shadowsmith by Ross MacKenzie. To use this idea with your own class, simply copy pages from a book that your pupils are familiar with and encourage them to create a poem using only the words on that page. This can be a real challenge, but it’s definitely worth it to see the amazing results!

Story maps

Particularly for lower primary classes, being able to recount the details of a story and represent them in another format is a great skill to develop. One way to do this is through story maps, as demonstrated by P1 at Riverside Primary School, West Lothian.

If your pupils are already confident with story maps, they could try creating a comic strip retelling, like P4 at Bankier Primary School in Falkirk.

Book Trailers

We couldn’t possibly choose our overall favourite way to respond to a book, but if we really had to, book trailers would definitely be in the running. A book trailer is a short video advert, created to entice the viewer to pick up the book. It’s great for team working, learning new skills and developing critical thinking around how to present the book in an appealing way. Fox Covert Primary School in Edinburgh created a great book trailer for Mr Stink which you can watch and find out more about in their blog post.

So there you have it: five fantastic ideas from around Scotland. We hope that you decide to try out one of these in your classroom, and remember that your pupils’ responses act as great evidence for entering the Pupil Reading Journey Award.

We know that these examples are just the tip of the iceberg. How have your pupils responded to the books that they are reading? Please let us know so that we can share with the rest of Scotland! You can tweet us photos @FMReadChallenge or email readingchallenge@scottishbooktrust.com.

Balloon Word Clouds