A third grader’s book report
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I remember my first book report. I was in Fourth Grade, and it was about the Nancy Drew mystery, “The Clue in the Crossword Cipher.” In our reports, we had to write a plot summary, describe the setting and key characters, and explain if we liked or disliked the book. Nancy Drew was my first introduction to chapter books and marked the beginning of a lifelong habit of reading for pleasure.
When I started homeschooling Motito, I was determined to make him write book reports. I subscribe to the idea that children who think about what they read become thoughtful readers. The more they read and write about what they read, the better they get at doing so, and the more they like doing them.
For my son’s first book report, I searched the Internet for a template or format that did not look daunting to someone writing his first report. This 3rd Grade Book Report Form on the Northshore School District web site was exactly what I needed. He had finished six Geronimo Stilton books, so I asked him to choose any two to write his book reports on.
The 3rd grade book report template has two pages and asks the reader to fill in the usual details, i.e. the setting, main characters, and plot summary. I had my son compose a draft of the plot summary before writing the final draft on the template. As Motito could sometimes be too detail-oriented, we spent some time paring down his initial draft, eliminating minor plot points in order to make his final draft fit the space provided by the book report form. It ticked him off when he had to cross out whole sentences describing what he thought were important to the story. I assured him that he could write 1,000-word plot summaries when he’s older. Kidding aside, it was a useful exercise to teach Motito how to distill a story to its bare essentials and how the same practice can be applied in conversations. Sometimes, I explained, people would like him to go directly to the point instead of going off on a tangent, which he is wont to do.
The 3rd grade book report was a lot of fun to do, and I can’t wait to have Motito try more creative approaches to making his next book reports.