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General Book Ideas

for activities that you can do when you're studying a book

Letters / postcards
Write a letter as a character in the book to another character in the book, a new invented character or a
real-life character. For example you could write a letter as Tracy Beaker (from Jacqueline Wilson's book) to
the Prime Minister asking him to do something about foster homes or to the local police asking them to
help her find her mum.

Another activity is for the children to write a letter from them to a character in the book. The teacher could, I
suppose, write replies back or replies could be written by a class higher up the school. Where good
relations exist pupils at the local secondary school could be drafted in to take on the role of the characters
in the book. On rare occasions perhaps the book's author could get involved. [You could split your class
into two and get them to send the letters to each other]

Author contact
Get the children to write a letter to the author. They could even include some samples of the work they've
been doing. Contact the author's publisher or publicist to find out the best address to send stuff to before
you post a large package! Also write first to see what sort of response to the letters you could get - that
way the children won't be too crushed when you've told them they might get individual replies and they
don't even get a response back.

If possible you could see if you could invite the author into school or see if your local library could organise
an event with the author for a few classes from schools in the local area.

Maps

Draw maps related to the location(s) in the text.


Use maps in the text as a basis for creative writing.
Create a tour guide for a place in the story (advert for place etc.)

Point of view

Re-tell some events in the story from another characters point of view.
Tell the story as an impartial observer.
Report as a newspaper journalist. (create a newspaper story/page)

Interviews

Write a written interview with one of the characters in the story (or one child writes the questions,
another answers them)
Take on the role of a character in a taped interview (teacher takes on role children ask questions or
child takes on role and teacher/children ask questions

Character Diary
Write the diary of a character in the story

Character Casting
Give the children a selection of photographs of people. Get them to imagine that they're putting on a stage
play of the book. Which person would they choose for which role. Why would they make that choice? Get
them to talk about their understanding of the characters in the book. What would their 'actor' or 'actress'
have to wear to become the character? What would their 'actor' or 'actress' also have to do (what
characteristics would they have to take on) in order to give a convincing performance as the character?

Continue / Change Story

Continue the story after the book has finished.


Fill in missing scenes from the story that must have happened but the author hasn't included
Write a sequel to the story
Predict what could happen next in the story
Change the story by changing the actions of one of the characters in the story
Change the story by changing the character of one of the people in the story (e.g. making a villain a
hero instead)
Change the story (or a scene in the story) by adding an additional character or removing one of the
existing characters causing a different chain of events
Write the story in a different style and change the events accordingly (e.g. turn a real-life story into a
fantasy/sci-fi one or a nursery rhyme!)
Change the story into a different format e.g. children's book, comic strip, play, poem, newspaper
article etc.
Write a story about an earlier/later event in a selected character's life

Role Play

Act out part of the story.


Act out a scene. Stop the scene at a critical point and brainstorm possible outcomes. Experiment
with outcomes not included in the original story.

Possessions

Make a list of the posessions of a character


Describe a character's bedroom
Make a list of the things you think a character would like and dislike
Create an I.D. card or passport for a character in the book

Starting in the wrong place


Start a book in the wrong place (a chapter or so in). Get the children to try and work out what events might
have led up to the chapter that they have just heard

Get artisitic

Write poems inspired by events/situations in the book


Draw pictures of characters from the book
Draw pictures of locations from the book
Compose a sound story - using instruments to convey the events in the book
Write a song about the story!

Book covers

Write the blurb for the back of a book


Create a suitable cover for the book
Design an advert for the book (for the press, radio or TV... for the last two choose suitable extracts
to perform if needed)
Write a review of the book
Adding the Narrative
Do your children just write stories as a whole load of speech? Pull out the speech from a story and ask
them to fill in the missing narrative to make it as exciting as they can

EXAMPLE

Adding the Narrative


Read through this dialogue from The Runawayand think about the narrative which could be added to make an
exciting story.
Write out this section of the story using yournarrative as well as the dialogue. Make sure your narrative is
paragraphed and helps the reader to picture the scene in their head. Dont forget to make it interesting and
exciting!

Lets go now, said Julia. Somebody might askus what were here
for.
All right. Im tired now anyway.
Where we going to sleep?
Dunno. Somewhere.

Perhaps theres another empty house, said Nathan, hopefully.


Lets look, said Julia.

Shall we see if we can get in there? said Julia

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