Nearly everyone knows how important it is to keep kids reading, but you need to get them reading first. One of the best ways to encourage kids to read new books is by using their peers. Knowing a classmate enjoyed a book is sometimes all that is needed to prompt reluctant readers to give it a try. Teaching children how to pitch a book to their peers is a great way to encourage reading and forces kids to think about what they’ve read and use their creativity to convince their friends to read it too. This book pitch idea is perfect for upper elementary and middle school students and draws on a host of literacy skills.
Creating a Newspaper
Students will need access to a computer, a simple newspaper template and a printer. Access to the Internet for public domain images may also be needed. Otherwise, the teacher can provide a set of digital graphics for students to use in the newspaper. Advanced students can make their own graphics with free online software when appropriate.
Students will design a newspaper about the book they have read. Depending on the skill level of the students, this may include a feature article about one of the characters or main events in the book, a summary of the book’s plot, a weather report, classified ads, political cartoons, sales ads or even an article for the society page. When using historical fiction, the accompanying ads will demonstrate the student’s understanding of the time period and setting of the book. If necessary, allow students to browse similar ads online to get an idea of the type of ad that would appear in a newspaper at that time.
Students may wish to print a copy of the newspaper for each classmate and distribute them during presentation time. Classmates can read the articles aloud and respond or ask questions. Otherwise, the student may read selected portions of the newspaper aloud and field questions from classmates.
You may wish to create a rubric of the required components of the assignment. Decide ahead of time whether spelling and grammar will be part of the grade and let students know ahead of time.
Creating a newspaper to pitch a book allows room for advanced students to go beyond the basic assignment to create more in-depth articles, creative classified ads and insightful political cartoons or letters to the editor.