Preview: Students examine the title and cover art of the text. Based on their observations, students record what they believe the book is about.
Identify: Students focus on the author and the publication date of the text. Encourage students to think about other works by the same author, and anything that might be relevant to the year the book was published.
Predict: At this station students analyze the genre, organization, and table of contents to predict the book’s subject matter and possible plot lines.
Summarize: Students take a moment to read the summary of the text on the back or inside cover of the book. Based on the summary reading, students record answers to the 5Ws (Who, What, When, Where, and Why).
Connect: This station gives students an opportunity to personally connect with the topic or subject matter.
Station activities are engaging because they break routine and give students a chance to get up and move around. Save time and download everything you need to implement pre-reading stations in your classroom from Literacy in Focus on TpT. Station posters and a student response page are included!
Novel Study Pre-Reading Station Activity from Literacy in Focus on TpT
“I will use this every time I start a new novel from now on! It was a great way to get the students interested and eager to start the novel. Great product!” -Jamie W.
Go behind the scenes with an author study. This is especially helpful when it comes time to examine and identify the author’s purpose for writing. Ideas for an author study include:
- Closely read an author biography. Set up the close reading to focus on meaningful moments in the author’s life that may be contributing factors to his or her work.
- Watch or read an author interview. Have students generate five additional interview questions. Then, with a partner, students can ask and answer each other’s questions.
- Create an illustrated timeline of the author’s life. This is a particularly meaningful activity if the novel contains parallels to the author’s life.
- Examine other works by the author. This will give students a better idea of the themes and topics the author includes in their works. You can simply read short excerpts from several of the authors works and have students try and make connections between each text.
Create excitement and build suspense by letting students listen to the first chapter or first few pages of the new book. It works particularly well if students don’t have the text in front of them, making them rely solely on their listening skills. If an audio book isn’t an option, you can record your voice and play the recording for your students. They will love hearing your expressions and interpretations of the character voices. Extend the activity by having students predict what happens next.
Introduce your next class novel with a modified version of a K-W-L chart. First, draw a question mark on a large piece of paper. After sharing the topic and background information of the book with students, have them write down one relevant question on a sticky note. Have students place their sticky notes on the question mark poster. You can use the questions to generate discussion, but hold off on answering them. When students have finished reading the novel, review the questions students placed on the question mark poster. Then, on another piece of large paper, draw a lightbulb. Once again, pass out sticky notes for students to write the answer to their question or another classmate’s question. After recording their answers, students can place their sticky note on the lightbulb poster. The sticky notes placed on the question mark and the lightbulb work extremely well for generating class discussions and can even be used to help structure a Socratic seminar.
Incorporating map activities into your instruction encourages critical thinking and increases engagement. Why not dive into the novel’s setting with a hands-on map activity? If the novel takes place in a real location, students can research the area to create their own maps. If the setting is in a fictional location, it will give the students a chance to get creative with their maps. Either way, students will be thinking critically and making connections with the novel’s setting.