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 2, deals with the vocabulary/grammar skill aspect of the novel studies. You can read part 1 here.
Novel Studies Part 2: Vocabulary/Grammar Skill Work
One of the beautiful things with reading books is that it expands your vocabulary. It introduces you to new words that you can build into your commentary. Being exposed to these new words within the context of a story helps the reader make an inference to the meaning of the word and it helps to see the word used in action to help the student understand its relevance.
When I create a novel study I try and pick out all the words that would be unfamiliar to a reader while at the same time not overdoing it by having such a long list of words for each chapter that the reader is pulled out of the story. Balance is imperative.
I would always write the vocabulary words for the day/chapter on the board before we would start reading so the student would know to keep a lookout for those words as they read.
I create a vocabulary bookmark for the student to have in hand as they read. They can record the page number of the word and note the inference that they have made on the meaning of the word as they are encountering it in context. You can see how I have this designed for my Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Novel Study.
I also create another page that the student can attend to after they’ve completed their reading. They will use their bookmark to locate the page number of the word. Next, they will look up the dictionary definition of the word and check it against the inference that they made on the bookmark as they read. You can see an example here from my Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Novel Study.
Each unit will contain some activities to work with the words and their definitions such as a crossword puzzle or word search.
I also like to work with grammar skills in context. My units contain a grammar skills activity for each vocabulary word that allows them to identify the part of speech of the word and then the sentence is pulled that contains that word. The sentence is written with improper grammar, missing punctuation, and misspellings. Students will need to correct the sentence to the proper written format. Here’s an example page from my Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Novel Study.
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 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Novel Study.
Pacing and approaching vocabulary in this manner has worked very well for me. It allows the students to think about the words and their meaning in context, while not disrupting the story to learn the true meaning.
Join me for part 3 in my series to learn the pacing methods I use for my novel studies.
You can find my Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Novel Study, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Novel Study, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Novel Study, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 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!