Book reports have come a long way since the mid-1970s when I began my career as a teacher. Back then, students would tell about their independent reading by creating some type of project, such as a roll-out movie played inside a cardboard box made to resemble a television set. Later, incorporating technology in the classroom meant offering students options such as making their own filmstrips and audio tapes to help them report on their books. These innovative choices excited the readers of that time, gave them the chance to dim the lights and to show off their creative work in new ways.
Fast forward to today, and students are now responding to their independent reading books by creating an OurPlace web site (based on the idea of MySpace) for their main characters, or by creating an i-Movie. Sometimes students create a podcast or a blog which the whole world may access, or at least Grandma and Grandpa! They still love to dim the lights to show off their work, but the possibilities have certainly advanced.
Sussex Middle School
Sussex, New Jersey
30 years of teaching