News flash…literature can be fun if you select novels that interest students or that are controversial. For example, teachers can allow debate on whether or not Sir Gawain upholds the code of chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Teachers may choose to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, if it is not on the banned books list in your school district. Students enjoy Huck Finn because of the adventure, interesting plot, controversial topics and rough language. Another classic novel that students enjoy Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
- Create a wanted poster. Pick a character in a novel who is accused of a crime, such as Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Have students create a wanted poster of the character.
- Create an accident report or a police report. For example, in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” students could write a report on the railroad accident that supposedly killed Mrs. Mallard’s husband.
- Assign a eulogy, an elegy, or an epitaph for some beloved character who passes away in a story. For example, assign writing a eulogy or an epitaph for Beowulf, or Arthur in Le Morte DArthur, or any other story in which a significant character dies.
- Make a timeline. This works well for mysteries or for stories with flashbacks.
- Captain’s log or diary. Write a journal, log or diary from the point of view of an important character. This assignment works well for selections that require more than one day to read.
- Make story boards. Draw upon your students’ artistic talent. Assign a particular number of scenes to draw.
- Use personalized white boards to elicit responses as you read. Students won’t write answers on a slice of paper, but they’ll compete like mad to write an answer on a white board.
These assignments are actually creative writing assignments. If you can make writing and reading fun, students are more likely to immerse themselves and recognize literature’s appeal. Have some creative ideas of your own? Please share them in the comments.