Novel in a Day! A Collaborative Reading Comprehension Lesson

Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
  • PDF
20 pages
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I am always looking for ways to keep reading interesting and exciting for upper elementary students while still working on comprehension skills and reading behaviors and processes. I have done this fun reading activity for more than 20 years, and I thought I’d finally put it in a more useful format for all of us!

What is it?

Novel in a Day is a way to take a chapter book, divide it into sections, assign a section (typically a chapter) to a student, partnership, or small group—and then have the class work together to make the story unfold!

Included in this novel study are the following components:

  • Instructions
  • Note taking forms for students to use while working
  • Group number tents to help with sequencing and management
  • Forms for student to create summaries to share
  • Forms for students to illustrate their sections
  • Pages to use after the novel study is complete
  • Anchor chart ideas

Why would we ever take a novel or chapter book and only have students read part of it? Lots of reasons! Check these out—and you can probably think of even more.

  • Working on a project as a class (or small group) can build excitement about reading and books.
  • By working together on a task where groups rely on each other, it can help to build classroom community.
  • Showing how each chapter of a book is actually a “story within a story” helps students build comprehension and an understanding of how chapter books work.
  • By giving students exposure to a common text, you can use it as an anchor to refer to throughout the year.
  • This project allows you to do strategic partnering to help support readers who may need additional support.
  • This allows you to work on reading comprehension in a number of different ways, including summarizing.
  • Using a Novel in a Day allows you to help teach about prediction and sequencing—two essential comprehension skills.

Check out the preview for even more details! (Page numbers are approximate due to multiple versions of some pages. See the preview for more.)


Looking for more reading ideas?

Reading Goals and Learning Targets

Graphic Organizers to Use with ANY Fiction Text (Print and Digital versions!)

Pausing Point "Response to Reading Prompts

Response to Reading "Digital Reader's Notebook"


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Total Pages
20 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 hours
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4–5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


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