Book in an Hour
March 16, 2005
Take a book and divide it up so that each student gets a group of pages or a chapter. It’s easiest to tear the pages out of the book and staple them together, but if students need extra time, it’s also helpful to have extra copies of the pages handy for them to take.
Make sure you pick a book that is not too long — you don’t want the students to have too many pages to focus on. For example, for my class of 30 students, I found a book that was between 150-200 pages, so that each student would only read approximately 5-7 pages. Picking an interesting book for students is also a must for this activity to work.
Each student should list out the characters in their section, the setting, and a three sentence summary of what happened in their section. After everyone is finished working on their summaries, have the class share their summaries in chronological order. I kept track of the characters and setting on the overhead as students shared. As one student shares their summary, have the other students write a one sentence summary of what is being shared.
My students really struggled the first day (reading their section, writing summaries), because they really had to think about what they were reading. Once we started sharing, though, and they got into the story, they really started to enjoy it. And it worked really well with low-level readers. They enjoyed not having to read an entire book, but still getting to hear about the book. It took about two and a half 40-minute class periods to read a 160-page book with my students. Book in an Hour is a great activity for kids who don’t like to read, as they don’t have to read a whole book by themselves. It is an easy way to get kids to “buy” into reading.