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If your middle school students are reading independent novels, here is a simple, ready-to-distribute Book Response Assignment designed in 2 parts: students demonstrate that they have read and understood the novel's events AND also provide their personal reactions by expressing their thoughts and insights while reading.
The assignment provides some choice for students, including a drawing option for Part One, for which a hand-out in the form of an organized "drawing template" is provided. For Part Two, a list of nine bulleted thought-provoking topics are provided to guide students in their Personal Reaction page.
Also included is a Book Response Evaluation Page, which is a detailed self-evaluation checklist students fill out and attach to their work when they turn it in on the due date. There is a section on the back of this sheet with a variety of teacher comments, again in the form of a checklist, and an area to record the student's grade. I have my students staple this page to the back of their Book Response before turning in.
What you will like most about this product is the neatness and clarity of the handouts, the choices involved for students, and the fact that students can enjoy reading the entire novel without having to stop and take cumbersome notes, and be very successful with the assignment.
I have noticed that students actually read more novels using this Book Response Assignment than when they had to complete more complicated multi-part projects. My "reading workshop" atmosphere has been enhanced since I streamlined the response work--and I don't have to collect and respond to reading journals or deal with bulky posters, dioramas, etc. Students will meet your objectives, demonstrating knowledge of important plot events and providing their own thoughtful opinions and reactions.
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