Some of my most vivid childhood memories of school were the novel studies I read for various subjects. It was my favorite way to learn skills, history, and any topic! I love books, and being allowed 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 novel studies! I love introducing new books to my class, and as a community, being immersed in the book together. I love it when a student pulls us off the schedule with a question or comment from something they read and leads the class into a lively discussion. That’s where the real memorable learning takes place, after all!

I create novel studies more than any other 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, 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 must hit the basics of comprehension and vocabulary. One of the wonderful bonuses of using novel studies is the opportunity to pull 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 is 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 longer writing passages that can lead to some really inspiring 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, students can research gorillas and elephants. They can learn about and compare life for these animals in the wild vs. captivity. 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, in addition to the printable format, shown above, to use with your students. This allows you to use novel studies in a 1:1 classroom, save paper, and easily engage students who 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 how you can combine the theme from a full novel throughout different curriculum areas in a way that 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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