Some of my most vivid childhood memories of school were the novel studies that we read for various subjects. It was my most favorite way to learn skills, history, any topic really! I am a lover of books and getting to read an entire book from cover to cover as a school assignment put me in heaven! I am sure this is a major reason why as a teacher my passion is to create and teach is novel studies! I love to introduce new books to students and as a community, get immersed in the book together. I love for a student to pull us off the schedule with a question or comment from something they read that leads the class in a lively discussion. That’s where the real memorable learning takes place after all!
Novel studies are my largest product line simply because I like to focus on what I love. I want to work with my passion! I often get questions from readers asking how I would set up novel studies in my classroom. I decided to write a small series explaining my methods. For the most part, all of my novel studies include comprehension questions, vocabulary/grammar skill work, extension activities, and assessments.
Novel Studies Part 3: Pacing
One of the challenges of using novel studies in the classroom is finding the time. It’s a balance between not moving too fast and not letting the unit drag on for too long because we all know you have a million other things to squeeze into your curriculum!
Each of my complete novel studies includes detailed daily teacher lesson plans that include the objective and directions for the day. You can see how I have this designed for my Freak the Mighty Novel Study.
I also create a pacing guide for each novel study that helps you map out your long-range plan. You can see an example here from my Crenshaw Novel Study.
It’s a delicate balance to set the pacing. I generally try to aim for approximately 20 pages to read per day. This will be altered based on the chapter sizes. I don’t schedule split chapters as I feel this disrupts the reader. I know I hate to stop reading mid-chapter. That’s just mean!
All of my novel studies offer a Google Drive™ format to use with your students in addition to the printable format that is shown above. This allows you to use novel studies in a 1:1 classroom, save paper, and easily engage students that are absent. Here’s an example page from the Google Drive™ format of my Wishtree Novel Study. The same pacing would apply for the Google™ version as you would use for the printable version.
This pacing is a suggestion as it has worked for me, but it is very adaptable so you can work to fit it into the schedule that you are working with. The planning pages are generally written for a whole class novel study, but again these can very easily be adapted to fit small book groups or individual novel studies. How much teacher interaction you want to have in the course of the study is up to you and can be worked out very easily in the suggested pacing.
Join me for part 4 in my series to learn how I add extra experiences to my novel studies for deeper learning and growth.
You can find my Freak the Mighty Novel Study, Crenshaw Novel Study, and Wishtree Novel Study that are mentioned above here in my store or at my TpT store. I also offer over 100 titles ranging from grades 1 to 8 where I am sure you’ll find something to engage your class in some deep reading.
Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!