It is very common to have students give a book report. There isn't any faster way to bore your class than to have each student stand up and share the summary of a story.
What can you do to improve student attention and reading fluency all at once? Create some podcasts to share! By adding the element of a real-world audience, the quality of your student book reports will improve extensively.
One way would be to put children into groups of four. One child can pretend to be Oprah and interview the main character of each of the other books. Add some music at the beginning and end, and then post on the class or school webpage. You'll be amazed how many students from the whole school will be inspired to listen.
Another podcasting idea would be to do a reader's theater from a story. Have a couple kids read the same book and build the reader's theater themselves. This can be done faster if the students choose the scene to present and then copy the text and cut and paste it into play format. Recording the short section of the book will greatly enhance fluency as nobody will want to stumble around on the words on something that the whole world will hear!
Podcasting an "oldcast" is another way to bring a book to life. Take a historical fiction book and create a newscast around the olden times, hence the name, "oldcast."
Once you have a collection of these various book report podcasts, allow students to bring in their ipods and transfer the files to their iPods. You will be amazed at how many children actually take the time to listen. If possible, as an extension, set up a blog for each podcast so that students can comment on each one. This is a good opportunity to teach about proper online etiquette and what is appropriate to write about other people's work. Also, family members from around the world would love to have the opportunity to listen and comment.
So, let's liven up the traditional book report with the technologies that are a part of children's lives!
This is another resource offered by Kathy Cothran, The Original Gadget Girl