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How to Get Started
First things first, you need to understand what your teacher is looking for and select the right kind of book. If it’s some specific book you don’t really have a choice but if you get the option to choose from a genre or list, you have a little more room for creativity. Once you have your book, you’ll have to read it of course, and then you’ll have to decide what kind of report to do. Make sure to check with your teacher if you have any specific questions about which book to choose or what they are looking for in your report. Completing your book project for middle school doesn’t have to be a chore, make it interesting and fun.
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What to Include: The Basics
You’ll want to include a list and brief descriptions of the main characters and some of the supporting characters. You’ll also want to touch on the setting, or when and where the story took place, as well as a plot summary illustrating the progression of the book. So, now that you know the pieces - how can you put it all together?
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The Standard Report
Writing up a standard book report might not be the most fun but it’s easy and some teachers will require you to stick to the basics. You’ll want to write an essay style report that includes the basics listed above.
- A list of characters and their descriptions, try to be as descriptive as possible with your main characters, describe them personally but also include a brief explanation of their evolution throughout the story.
- Include a brief explanation of the setting, when and where your story takes place, noting any particularly distinctive details.
- Lastly you’ll want to include a plot summary. Keep in mind that you aren’t rewriting the book but try to give as many details as possible. You will want to illustrate your understanding of the story’s progression and the moral, if there is one.
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A storyboard can be done on a piece of poster board or cardboard and usually includes pictures and paragraphs that help the audience, in this case your class and teacher, get an idea of what’s going on in the book. The basic parts still apply but you can feel free to illustrate (or use clip art) to help emphasize certain parts. Try to have a flow to your storyboard and include titles for each section. For example you can use just a picture to show the time and place your book was set but make sure to label it under setting.
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Creating a Symbolic Model
This is where your creativity really gets to shine. Using a 3D model can help you show the importance of symbolism in your book by bringing to life the important symbols used in a story. For example if innocence is used throughout your book you could use a baby’s cradle as your base. You can buy a pre-made doll cradle, make one from paper, or get even more creative using materials you find.
Add other symbols that remind you of innocence or go along with the theme like a rattle, a bottle, or a mobile. Attach paragraphs to the objects describing each one of the basics listed above. Make sure you discuss this kind of project with your teacher to ensure that you’re headed in the right direction.
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Creating a Scene or Setting from the Story
Using a shoe box, or similarly sized box, create a model reenacting an important scene or setting in the story. Of course, you still want to write up a brief summary of the basics, that you can include with your scene but this can help you get creative and really understand either the setting or the scene you choose. If you want to get extra creative, section the box off into three or four smaller compartments and include the beginning, middle, and conclusion of your story. This can help the class get an idea of what happened in the story and it can help your teacher see how much you really understood the progression.
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Create a PowerPoint Presentation
If you like using computers ask your teacher if you can create a PowerPoint presentation for your book report. As always include the basics but feel free to emphasize key points with pictures or animations. You can then give your report strictly from your presentation or using notes with more detail. Make sure to write everything down, either in the presentation or on paper so you can turn in your work and get credit for all of the information.
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As long as you keep in communication with your teacher about what’s expected from you and deliver the necessary information you’ll usually find that your teacher will be very flexible with how you present the information. Don’t be afraid to get creative and remember to have fun while you’re completing your book projects for middle school.