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"Carousel Brainstorm" Book Report



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

A "carousel brainstorm" is a fun way to review a book the whole class has read.


Students will

  • focus on many different elements of a book.
  • use higher-order thinking skills to look deeper into elements of a book.
  • play an active role in, and work cooperatively with, a group.

carousel, strategy, brainstorm, graphic organizer, book report, book, setting, characters, plot, sequence, author, cooperative

Materials Needed

  • chart paper
  • markers

Lesson Plan

If you've never used the "carousel brainstorm" strategy before, it's a simple one to implement. The activity is most effective after the entire class has read a story or book -- either on their own or in class. For this activity, arrange students into groups. Three or four students make an ideal group.

In strategic locations around the classroom, hang large sheets of chart paper, one sheet per group. On each sheet, write one of the ten Chart Topics listed at the bottom of this lesson section. Provide a marker or crayon for each group of students. Have each group appoint one student (perhaps one with good handwriting) to be the group's recorder.

Explain to students that they are going to make their way around the "carousel;" they will work at each chart during the lesson. (Alternatively, students can write on charts at their desks and pass the chart paper from one group to another.) Introduce each chart and describe what students should discuss when they get to that chart. As each group (or chart) moves, group members have 60 seconds to silently review what previous students have written on the chart. They then will have 2 minutes to discuss and add new thoughts to the chart.

Clearly, the task will be more difficult for the fourth, fifth, or sixth group to add to a chart. To add ideas of consequence to the chart, students will need to look deeper into the work and explore themes on a more scholarly level.

The last group to work at each chart presents the information on that chart to the entire class. After introducing the ideas, they open a class discussion by asking, Does anyone have something new to add, or additional thoughts about ideas already presented? At that point, some lively discussions might ensue!

Chart Topics
Provide each group with a large sheet of chart paper on which is written one of the ten topics listed below. If not enough students are in the class to make ten groups, choose the topics you would most like students to explore. Depending on your curriculum, you might want to substitute other topics for some of the topics provided. If you work with younger students, you might replace some of the topics at the end of the list with additional characters from the book, or break down the Setting category into individual settings in the book.

  • The Author -- words or phrases describing the author's life, other books, important elements of the author's style
  • Character 1 -- words or phrases describing the character's physical appearance; character traits including personality, strengths, weaknesses (character flaws)
  • Character 2 -- same as Character 1
  • Character 3 -- same as Character 1
  • Setting -- words or phrases describing the setting(s) in the story/book
  • Key Events -- words or phrases describing key events in the story/book
  • Vocabulary -- words you encountered that were especially important in the book, that were new to you, or words that stand out for some other reason
  • Excellent Descriptions -- excellent examples of the author's description of a setting, character, event (list page numbers)
  • Key Dialogue -- passages of dialogue that are especially important to the story or exceptionally well written (list page numbers)
  • Best Parts -- your description of the best parts of the book and your reasons for selecting those parts

More About "Carousel Brainstorms"
To learn more about "carousel brainstorms" read the article, Strategies for Reading Comprehension: Carousel Brainstorm on the Web site or do a Google search for "Carousel Brainstorm".


Students write a paragraph summarizing the findings related to one of the topics. Older students might summarize three topics or all the topics.

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-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

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