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.

Today’s post, part 4, deals with the extras added to the novel studies, from writing activities to non-fiction research activities. You can read part 1Part 2, and Part 3 here.


Novel Studies Part 4: The Extras!

Of course, when using novel studies in the classroom you need to hit the basics of comprehension and vocabulary. One of the wonderful bonuses with novel studies is you can pull in other areas of the curriculum into a larger thematic unit. The various topics of the different books can lead to a plethora of inquiry and learning.

As I create a novel study I open my mind to all the places the story may be taking me. Some books are easier to explore outside the reading domain than others. Some take me down the rabbit hole of investigation with a deep-thought question that allows for some longer writing passages that can lead to some really nice class debates!


Some examples of great non-fiction investigations are The Lightning Thief Novel Study and The One and Only Ivan Novel Study. You can branch off to an entire Greek Mythology Unit with The Lightning Thief.


With The One and Only Ivan Novel Study, your students can learn about gorillas and elephants. They can learn and compare life for these animals in the wild vs. captivity. And, the most interesting to me was the true story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla that inspired the story!



A book like Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH leads to some deep-thought questions regarding animal testing that can be debated and discussed in-depth in the classroom.





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. The “extras” of the novel study are included in the Google Drive™ format as well. Here’s an example page from the Google Drive™ format of my The Lightning Thief Novel Study.

I love being able to combine the theme from the full novel throughout different curriculum areas in a way you just can’t do with short passage reading instruction. This allows for even deeper learning by using novel studies!


Join me for the conclusion of my series to learn how I handle the assessments to end my novel studies.



You can find  The Lightning Thief Novel StudyThe One and Only Ivan Novel Study, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH 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.



To read Part 1: Comprehension

To read Part 2: Vocabulary

Part 3: Pacing






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!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

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