March is National Reading Month, starting with the NEA's "Read Across America." Looking for ideas to inspire a life-long love of books? Here are reading response activities, interactive ELA (English language arts) lessons, book-based crafts and literature response lessons. Book activities are hands-on, multi-sensory, cross-curricular Montessori-style. Use for interactive Readers Workshop, special education students, reluctant readers, divergent learners and summer reading enrichment.
Reading response journal. Have kids create personalized reading logs, respond to literature and complete book-based activities. Check my blog Free Lesson Plans 4U and Free Printable Lesson Plans for tips to make literature response journals and activity suggestions. Here are free printable reading activities and calendar tracker from PBS.
Homemade books. Cut book covers from cereal box. Cover with scrap wrapping paper or wallpaper. Cover with magazine picture collage. Decoupage by painting pictures with watered-down school glue, front and back. Cut lined paper pages (for text) and blank paper (for illustrations). Or use scrap paper and draw in text lines.
Book-based promotional materials. Have kids play marketer for their favorite book or author. Make posters, book covers advertising literature. Create 3-D sculptures, models or dioramas based on books. Make book-based merchandise: toys, snacks, food, games. In homeschooling, my 6th grade son designed a "Hobbit Holes" cereal box designed on his favorite J.R.R. Tolkien novel.
Book diorama. Create scenes from books using recycled products. Arrange scene in shoe box. Use small dolls (Lego, Fisher-Price, Little Tikes, Polly Pockets) as characters.
Story-reading audio/video presentations. Make audio recordings of kids reading books. Covert to mp3 files for iPod. Videotape students reading and story-telling. Upload videos to Youtube.
Story-telling. Students read aloud to younger students. Students act out children's books and present to younger or special needs classes. In high school, our oldest daughter acted out a Shel Silverstein's poem "Noise Day" for special education kids. They loved when she skateboarded across the stage!
Book-music connections. Create music playlists based on books. Select metaphorical songs. Kids will love choosing modern songs to represent story themes. Our family saw a production of "Macbeth." The play was set to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," "The Decemberists "This is Why We Fight" and "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant. It really resonated with students and helped them understand and relate to Shakespeare.For more reading response activities, visit my blog Kidz Literature.