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Chain Together
A Book Report



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
  • Educational Technology


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Break a book report down into manageable pieces in this "chain book report" activity.


Students will

  • examine a book's components, including key events, characters, and vocabulary.
  • share the "chain book reports" with their peers.

book report, sequence, sequencing, reading, library, Book Week, setting, characters, plot, sequence, author

Materials Needed

  • Prepare for each student 10 strips of pastel-colored paper or 10 strips of white copy or drawing paper. Each strip should measure 1-inch wide x 8-1/2 inches long.
  • glue, paste, or staples

Lesson Plan

The activity described below is effective at many grade levels; see the instructions in the Adapt the Activity section below for ideas for using the activity with younger or older students.

Prepare paper strips as indicated in the Materials Needed section. Provide each student with 10 strips. Have students write the numbers 1 through 10 on the slips, one number per slip. Then introduce to students the "chain book report" format.

  • On strip 1, each student writes the name of a book he or she has just finished reading and the name of the book's author. The students also should draw on their first strip a simple illustration of the book's main theme or of an important event in the book.
  • On strip 2, students write the names of three main characters in the book. The characters usually will be people, but in some books an animal or inanimate object might be considered important enough to be a "character." Next to each character's name, students write a simple statement defining the character's role in the book (e.g., boy, mother, mayor) and list two traits defining the personality of each character.
  • On strip 3, students list the main setting of the book, writing at least three adjectives or adjective phrases describing that setting.
  • On strips 4, 5, and 6, students briefly describe three important events in the story. Each strip should include a 2 to 3 sentence description of the event. (Note: When students combine their strips to make a chain, the three events described should be placed on the chain in the sequence in which they happened in the book.)
  • On strip 7, students tell about the climax or most important event in the book. If it is the climax of a story, they should be careful not to give away the ending. If reporting about a biography, a student might describe what he or she thinks is the high point, or turning point, in the life of the bio's subject.
  • On strip 8, students write a brief paragraph (2-3 sentences) about the illustrations in the book. What form do the illustrations take (e.g., pen and ink drawings, pastel drawings, photographs)? Are the illustrations effective and helpful in telling the story?
  • On strip 9, students create a simple glossary to accompany the book. They write three new vocabulary words from the book or three vocabulary words they think readers should know before reading the book. Each vocabulary word should be accompanied by a brief definition.
  • On strip 10, students write their recommendation about the book. Would they recommend the book to a friend? Why or why not?

When students complete the instructions above, they use staples or glue to connect the strips into a "chain book report." Display the "chain gang's" book reports on a bulletin board, or string a clothesline or yarn and hang them from it.

Adapt the Activity for Younger/Older Students

For younger students, simplify the instructions. For example, have them write a 1-sentence description of each important event in the story. Instead of writing a definition for each vocabulary word, they can write a sentence from the book that includes each word. They might write about more events or characters instead of completing some of the other steps.

For older students, this is an excellent activity to use when reviewing a chapter book or reading a history or science textbook. Assign each student a separate chapter or section in the book and follow the instructions above. Each student then takes a turn instructing his or her classmates about the important information in the assigned chapter or section and sharing the chain he or she has created. Connect all the students' chains to make a whole-class chain for the chapter book or subject text.

Integrate Technology

Students can use a word processing program to type the information about what they read. Print the student-written text, cut it into strips, and assemble the strips into a chain.


Students share the information on their chains with their classmates. Grade them using a content and presentation rubric.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

NT.K-12.1 Basic Operations and Concepts

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Find more great ideas for celebrating books on Education World's Children's Book Week archive page and Reading Fun page .