5 Fun Projects to Get Your Students Excited About Reading
There’s always that moment before you introduce the next class reading assignment where you wonder…
Will they be excited by this book, story, or poem? What will I do if they aren’t?
Generating that excitement can sometimes feel like an impossibility. Even for us as educators, it can be tough to have the enthusiasm all the time for certain works. Yet, by tapping into your students' natural excitement for being creative, expressing their curiosity, and getting their hands dirty, you can really motivate them to not only finish those reading assignments, but discuss them throughout their day. (and even beyond to the rest of the year!)
These project ideas represent just the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to the kind of projects you can let your students do, there’s almost no limit. With these examples, you’ll have a starting place to let them adapt, mix and match, and even develop their own in response to literature of all types.
Creating a mural on your classroom walls
This one may sound a little out there, but it really switches on students' desire to learn. We’ve even known a teacher who agreed to let his students paint a giant version of the "Cosmic Cutie” from the Hitchhiker’s Guide across the class walls (shown to the left). They were thrilled to finish the book and create a huge sign that read “Don’t Panic!” (the book’s motto) to show how they could learn to handle anything.
Conducting interviews as the characters for a podcast
This one is great for helping your students learn about technology, public speaking, interviewing, and the greater universe of a story. By letting them take on the role of the characters, they expand their thinking to the creative landscape an author has created, while inferring what might be true given a character’s values, beliefs, and previous actions.
Designing their own version of a book’s cover
With free open-source graphic design software like GIMP (and even portable versions of the program are available), students have an amazing opportunity. Especially if they’re interested in design and art, this type of project will let them consider what images can best convey the thoughts of a book, story, or poem in visual format.
Using YouTube to invent and “sell” a fictional brand based in the story
Whether it’s a line of character-inspired fashion or some wacky invention that could revolutionize the characters' lives, “selling” a brand through their own commercial teaches fundamental ideas about business, marketing, and mass media.
Filming their own mock documentary that flips the fictional world on its head
Imagine a mission by future archaeologists to discover the culture of the story. Or your students as aliens planning a large scale invasion of the cities in a book. Mock documentaries offer endless possibilities… and excitement. Your students will get to explore the interaction between journalistic-style reporting, the possibilities of science, and their own limitless creativity. Sounds pretty cool, right?