Summer Reading: Create a Book Jacket

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Demonstrate ability to write with focus, organization, and supporting details and demonstrate understanding of a book read during summer vacation. Engage in collaborative discussions with partners and small groups about the texts.

Big Idea

Giving students an opportunity to reflect on their summer reading habits may produce some surprises for you and for them too!

Introduce the Project

10 minutes

The first thing you will notice about the Summer Reading Project: Create a Book Jacket worksheet is it begins by setting a purpose. Students are engaged when there is a real world connection to their assignments. In this case they are asked to “advertise a book that you enjoyed during summer.

For many students the explicit instructions on the worksheet are enough for them to produce a well-organized final product. However, some students require more structure to ensure success, so I created a set of graphic organizers with one for each section. They are made available to everyone. I also save exemplars year to year for students to view.

Many students enjoy using technology to create digital presentations. For that purpose, a set of directions for a Keynote presentation is attached. This year, about 50% of the students choose the electronic option. Some insight on this work appears here:




Modeling & Application

40 minutes

Typically I give students two class periods to complete the project on one of the books they read during the summer, but you can easily do it with less in-class time and more at-home time. The in-class work focuses on the writing sections. We discuss what makes good writing: How should a paragraph be organized? How do I add descriptive details? Using my own experience with a summer reading book, we produce a well-organized paragraph. This guided modeling readies students to work independently.

The night’s homework is to complete rough drafts for sections 3 and 4. These are revised and edited in class the next day. At that point, students have a chance to get input from peers. Those with weak writing skills are encouraged through interaction with stronger role models. The remainder of work on this project is completed as homework. I usually assign the due date as at least 3-5 days ahead and preferably over a weekend.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

This is one of the only projects of the year that is graded according to a point system. Most include standard-based rubrics. The reason for not doing so on this one is it reflects learning from previous grades and its most important purpose is to provide a baseline from which to build the instruction that follows.

This assignment also provides students with a chance to evaluate their summer reading experience and to consider what, if anything, to do differently next year. I collect these assignments to pass back on the last day of school. Students get a kick out of reading their own advice and are more likely to follow it than mine – even if they are the very same thing!

A completed Keynote project appears here but requires the application be downloaded to open it. A pdf version appears here, for those without the program.