3 Tips for Designing a Novel Study Unit that will Have Students Hanging Off Your Every Word

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After I picked myself up off the floor and shook off my disillusion…

Quick story:  One year of elementary school I actually read 300 📚 books in one year. I kid you not!

⏩ Now fast forward –  fresh out of teacher’s college, I was so excited to teach my first middle school English class and share my love of books with eager learners! Then…


The students before me were much less than enthusiastic about studying novels. 😕

Like you, I was greeted with groans and sighs at the thought of having to read whole chapter books and do writing tasks. 😭

After I picked myself up off the floor and shook off my disillusion, I set to work to prove some of these students wrong.

Now you and I both know there’s nothing like the experience of immersing yourself in a great story and connecting with its characters! And I was determined to give that feeling to these kids and…

Make. Reading. Fun.

So – here are my top 3 tips for designing a unit of literature that will tick all the boxes in terms of…
✔ Grammar
✔ Vocabulary
✔ Text comprehension and analysis,

…PLUS leave your students *hanging on your every word* as you discover the text together!

Tip #1

Read the book aloud.

There’s nothing more engaging than a wonderful tale read with enthusiasm and expression. I like to do most of the reading myself and share some with some of the better readers in the class.

We don’t want students losing the story or hearing it read without passion.

There are plenty of other opportunities for the whole class to do reading aloud, so why break a good story now? 😃

Tip #2

Allow some time for reflection as you read through the book.

  • What do they think will happen next?
  • Which characters do they engage with most?
  • How are they finding the experience of having a book read to them?

Try collecting a post-reading reflection at the end of the experience. It gives you some good insights into how individual students think, and you can use that information for when you come to tackle your next novel!

Tip #3

Give your students a variety in the tasks that follow.

Design a variety of tasks that will appeal to the different learning styles of your students, and mix group or individual activities.

One of my students’ favourite novel studies (and mine) has always been The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I actually ended up creating a full Novel and Film Study Immersion unit for it.

And you?
What’s a favourite book or film unit your students love? Add your comment!

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