Responding to what you read is an important literacy skill. Reading about other people’s experiences and perspectives helps kids learn about the world. And although students don’t need to dive deeply into every single book they read, occasionally digging into characters, settings, and themes can help them learn to look beyond the prose. Here are 42 creative book report ideas designed to make reading more meaningful.
1. Concrete Found Poem
This clever activity is basically a shape poem made up of words, phrases, and whole sentences found in the books students read. The words come together to create an image that represents something from the story.
2. Graphic Novel
Have students rewrite the book they are reading, or a chapter of their book, as a graphic novel. Set parameters for the assignment such as including six scenes from the story, three characters, details about the setting, etc. And, of course, include detailed illustrations to accompany the story.
3. Book Snaps
Book Snaps are a way for students to visually show how they are reacting to, processing, and/or connecting with a text. First, students snap a picture of a page in the book they are reading. Then, they add comments, images, highlights, and more.
4. Diary Entry
Have your students place themselves in the shoes of one of the characters from their book and write a first-person diary entry of a critical moment from the story. Ask them to choose a moment in the story where the character has plenty of interaction and emotion to share in a diary entry.
5. Character To-Do List
This fun activity is an off-the-beaten-path way to dive deep into character analysis. Get inside the head of the main character in a book and write a to-do list that they might write. Use actual information from the text, but also make inferences into what that character may wish to accomplish.
6. Mint Tin Book Report
There are so many super-creative, open-ended projects you can use mint tins for. This teacher blogger describes the process of creating book reports using them. There’s even a free template for cards that fit inside.
7. Fictional Yearbook Entries
Ask your students to create a yearbook based on the characters and setting in the book. What do they look like? Cut out magazine pictures to give a good visual image for their school picture. What kind of superlative might they get? Best looking? Class clown? What clubs would they be in or lead? Did they win any awards? It should be obvious from their small yearbooks whether your students dug deep into the characters in their books. They may also learn that who we are as individuals is reflected in what we choose to do with our lives.
8. Book Report Cake
This project would be perfect for a book tasting in your classroom! Each student presents their book report in the shape of food. See the sandwich and pizza options above and check out this blog for more delicious ideas.
9. Current Events Comparison
Have students locate three to five current events articles a character in their book might be interested in. After they’ve found the articles, have them explain why the character would find them interesting and how they relate to the book. Learning about how current events affect time, place, and people is critical to helping develop opinions about what we read and experience in life.
10. Sandwich Book Report
Yum! You’ll notice a lot of our creative book report ideas revolve around food. In this oldie but goodie, each layer of this book report sandwich covers a different element of the book—characters, setting, conflict, etc. A fun adaptation of this project is the book report cheeseburger.
11. Book Alphabet
Choose 15 to 20 alphabet books to help give your students examples of how they work around themes. Then ask your students to create their own Book Alphabet based on the book they read. What artifacts, vocabulary words, and names reflect the important parts of the book? After they find a word to represent each letter, have them write one sentence that explains where the word fits in.
12. Peekaboo Book Report
Using cardboard lap books (or small science report boards), students include details about their book’s main characters, plot, setting, conflict, resolution, etc. Then they draw a head and arms on card stock and attach them to the board from behind to make it look like the main character is peeking over the report.
13. T-Shirt Book Report
Another fun and creative idea: Create a wearable book report with a plain white tee. Come up with your own using Sharpie pens and acrylic paint. Get step-by-step directions.
14. Book Jacket
Have students create a new book jacket for their story. Include an attractive illustrated cover, a summary, a short biography of the author, and a few reviews from readers.
15. Watercolor Rainbow Book Report
This is great for biography research projects. Students cut out a photocopied image of their subject and glue it in the middle. Then, they draw lines from the image to the edges of the paper, like rays of sunshine, and fill in each section with information about the person. As a book report template, the center image could be a copy of the book cover, and each section expands on key information such as character names, theme(s), conflict, resolution, etc.
16. Act the Part
Have students dress up as their favorite character from the book and present an oral book report. If their favorite character is not the main character, retell the story from their point of view.
17. Pizza Box Book Report
If you’re looking for creative book report ideas that use upcycled materials, try this one using a pizza box. It works well for both nonfiction and fiction book reports. The top lid provides a picture of the book cover. Each wedge of the pizza pie tells part of the story.
Have students create a custom illustrated bookmark that includes drawings and words from either their favorite chapter or the entire book.
19. Book Reports in a Bag
Looking for book report ideas that really encourage creative thinking? With book reports in a bag, students read a book and write a summary. Then, they decorate a paper grocery bag with a scene from the book, place five items that represent something from the book inside the bag, and present the bag to the class.
20. Reading Lists for Characters
Ask your students to think about a character in their book. What kinds of books might that character like to read? Take them to the library to choose five books the character might have on their to-be-read list. Have them list the books and explain what each book might mean to the character. Post the to-be-read lists for others to see and choose from—there’s nothing like trying out a book character’s style when developing your own identity.
21. File Folder Book Report
Also called a lap book, this easy-to-make book report hits on all the major elements of a book study and gives students a chance to show what they know in a colorful way.
Create a collage using pictures and words that represent different parts of the book. Use old magazines or print pictures from the Internet.
23. Book Report Triorama
Who doesn’t love a multidimensional book report? This image shows a 3D model, but Elisha Ann provides a lesson to show students how to glue four triangles together to make a 4D model.
Have students create a timeline of the main events from their book. Be sure to include character names and details for each event. Use 8 x 11 sheets of paper taped together or a long portion of bulletin board paper.
25. Clothes Hanger Book Report Mobile
This creative project doesn’t require a fancy or expensive supply list. Students just need an ordinary clothes hanger, strings, and paper. The body of the hanger is used to identify the book, and the cards on the strings dangling below are filled with key elements of the book, like characters, setting, and a summary.
26. Public Service Announcement
If a student has read a book about a cause that affects people, animals, or the environment, teach them about public service announcements. Once they understand what a PSA is, have them research the issue or cause that stood out in the book. Then give them a template for a storyboard so they can create their own PSA. Some students might want to take it a step further and create a video based on their storyboard. Consider sharing their storyboard or video with an organization that supports the cause or issue.
27. Dodecahedron Book Report
Creative book report ideas think outside the box. In this case, it’s a ball! SO much information can be covered on the 12 panels, and it allows students to take a deep dive in a creative way.
28. Character Cards
Make trading cards (like baseball cards) for a few characters from the book. On the front side, draw the character. On the back side, make a list of their character traits and include a quote or two.
29. Book Report Booklets
This clever book report is made from ordinary paper bags. Stack the paper bags on top of each other, fold them in half, and staple the closed-off ends of the bags together. Students can write, draw, and decorate on the paper bag pages. They can also record information on writing or drawing paper and glue the paper onto the pages. The open ends of the bags can be used as pockets to insert photos, cut-outs, postcards, or other flat items that help them tell their story.
30. Letter to the Author
Write a letter to the author of the book. Tell them three things you really liked about the story. Ask three questions about the plot, characters, or anything else you’re curious about.
31. Book Report Charm Bracelet
What a “charming” way to write a book report! Each illustrated bracelet charm captures a character, an event in the plot, setting, or other detail.
32. Fact Sheet
Have students create a list of 10 facts that they learned from reading the book. Have them write the facts in complete sentences, and be sure that each fact is something that they didn’t know before they read the book.
33. Cereal Box TV Book Report
This book report project is a low-tech version of a television made from a cereal box and two paper towel rolls. Students create the viewing screen cut-out at the top, then insert a scroll of paper with writing and illustrations inside the box. When the cardboard roll is rotated, the story unfolds.
34. Be a Character Therapist
Therapists work to uncover their clients’ fears based on their words and actions. When we read books, we must learn to use a character’s actions and dialogue to infer their fears. Many plots revolve around a character’s fear and the work it takes to overcome that fear. Ask students to identify a character’s fear and find 8 to 10 scenes that prove this fear exists. Then have them write about ways the character overcame the fear (or didn’t) in the story. What might the character have done differently?
35. Mind Maps
Mind maps can be a great way to synthesize what students have learned from reading a book. Plus, there are so many ways to approach them. Begin by writing a central idea in the middle of the page. For example, general information, characters, plot, etc. Then branch out from the center with ideas, thoughts, and connections to material from the book.
From Rainbows Within Reach, this clever idea would be a great introduction to writing book reports. Adapt the flap categories for students at different levels. Adjust the number of categories (or flaps) per the needs of your students.
37. Board games
This is a great project if you want your students to develop a little more insight into what they’re reading. Have them think about the elements of their favorite board games and how they can be adapted to fit this assignment. For more, here are step-by-step directions.
38. Comic strips
If you’re looking for creative book report ideas for students who like graphic novels, try comic strips. Include an illustrated cover with the title and author. The pages of the book should retell the story using dialogue and descriptions of the setting and characters. Of course, no comic book would be complete without copious illustrations and thought bubbles.
Create a timeline using a long roll of butcher paper, a poster board, or index cards taped together. For each event on the timeline, write a brief description of what happens. Add pictures, clip art, word art, and symbols to make the timeline more lively and colorful.
40. Cereal Box
Recycle a cereal box and create a book report Wheaties-style. Decorate all sides of the box with information about the book’s characters, setting, plot, summary, etc.
41. Wanted Poster
Make a “wanted” poster for one of the book’s main characters. Indicate whether they are wanted dead or alive. Include a picture of the character and a description of what the character is “wanted” for, three examples of the character showing this trait, and a detailed account of where the character was last seen.
42. Movie Version
If the book your students have read has been made into a movie, have them write a report about how the versions are alike and different. If the book has not been made into a movie, have them write a report telling how they would make it into a movie, using specific details from the book.