Book Reports

Dear Parents and Students,

St. Mary School values reading, and because we value reading, I, the fifth grade ELA teacher require the fifth-grade students to read independent texts that they choose. I will monitor student reading progress, make recommendations about new things students might like to try, and give students an opportunity to interact and to develop reading skills through independent reading. I will support and hold students accountable for this independent reading assignment.

Accountable Independent Reading has five purposes:

To engage and motivate students in learning things they care about

  • to promote students’ love of reading

  • to build students’ vocabulary

  • to build students’ knowledge about the world (through both fiction and informational text)

  • to build students’ reading “stamina”: their ability to read harder texts for longer periods   of time

I encourage students to choose texts and topics that interest them. Students should choose books that are at a comfortable or challenging reading level. The books available for reading in the school often come from national lists and recommendations from librarians and teachers. Some books also relate directly to the content students are studying together in class.

As the classroom teacher I  leave the decision of choosing what is appropriate for you and your child to you. I encourage you to be aware of what your child chooses to read. Some parents or guardians may choose to read a text before they let their child read it. This can help you monitor what your child is reading, and it can be a great opportunity for discussion! You may also contact librarians for summaries and reviews or search online to learn more about a book your child is interested in.

I have set up a system in which students set goals for their reading, keep a reading log (about the text and their own opinions about the book), and write reviews of the texts they are reading. Students will also share their book in the format of a book talk. Ask your child to share these documents with you. Be sure you know your child’s reading goals so you can support him/her on staying on track, celebrating successes, and problem-solving as needed (including knowing when to abandon a book and choose one that is a better fit). Young Adult Literature Resources and Scholastic websites have great links to book lists, advice for encouraging reluctant readers, parent guides to popular novels, and other resources for parents.

I hope independent reading will be enjoyable for your child and lead to a lifetime of reading.


Mrs. Pirraglia

Genre Requirements

***All books are to be completed by the due date. Upon completion, you will be asked to present the book to the teacher and class. All reports must include: Title of the book and author. All reports are to be typewritten in 12 font, Times New Roman, and double spaced.

Book #1: Biography

Due Date:  

– October 12th

A biography of a famous person in American history must be read. The student will write a summary of the life and times of the famous person. The summary should include the accomplishments of the historical figure and if you admire this person. Give specific reason why or why not you admire this person. All summaries must be typewritten and include a cover with a favorite picture depicting the famous person.

Book #2: Book with a Movie Version

Due Date:

-November 30th

Book 2 is to be a book with a movie version

**** Parents must approve of both the book and the movie, based on ratings and/or content.  

For this assignment, you will have to read a book  and view the movie.  You must select a book and movie you have not previously read/viewed.

Students must write a comparison essay. The essay should include similarities and differences using transition words. Specific details on characters, events, plot, climax, and theme must be addressed. An opinion of the book verses the movie must be given. The essay must be typewritten and include a picture of one of the events from the book and movie as the cover.

Book #3: Nonfiction

Due Date:

– January 11th

This nonfiction book will be the first of two paired books (fiction/nonfiction) that are to be read. Pick a fiction AND non-fiction book that are both on the SAME topic. Try to make the subject “match” as closely as you can.  Students must write a report detailing what they learned on the subject, using at least five facts, graphs or diagrams, and your opinion of the subject and book. Report must be typewritten with a cover that depicts the subject matter.

Book #4: Fiction

Due Date:

February 13th

This book is the second book of the paired book group.  

Imagine that you are a reporter for your local newspaper. The editor has just called to give you your latest assignment. You have been asked to interview a special visitor to your town—the main character of the book you just read. Write a paragraph describing the main character of the story. Include the character’s age, hometown, occupation, hobbies, personality traits, and so on. Think about what you would like to ask the character and what the newspaper’s readers would want to find out about him or her. Write at least five questions that will reveal interesting and important information about the character. If the question requires a yes or no answer, ask the character to explain his or her responses. Base some of the questions on events in the book, such as: “How did you feel when…?” “What did you hope would happen when…?” “Why did you…? Ask questions about the subject matter that you learned about in the nonfiction book. You must answer all the questions as if you were the character questioned. The questions and answers must be typewritten as a newspaper interview.

Book #5:Biography Famous Woman in History

Due Date:

March 13th

Students will research a famous woman. Students will type information in a chronological manner and accompany a picture with the information creating a timeline.  You may design the timeline any way you like. Be creative!

Book #6: Poetry

Due Date:

April 15th

April is set aside for poetry.  The purpose of this assignment is to gain an appreciation for this genre. You will select a book that has poems from various poets or just one.  While reading, find a poem that you can relate to or just like the lyrical flow.   You will memorize the poem and recite it for the class.  The poem can be longer than the number of lines you are to recite. (10 lines ) Follow the  outline below for your report.

Title of Poem (in quotes)

1. Source

2. Author

3. About the Author (birth/death, when the poem was written, one interesting biographical fact)

4. Summary When and where is the poem set? What is happening or what scene is described in the poem— beginning, middle, end? Who is the narrator? This is the literal content, “right there”, not interpretation or meaning.

5. Sensory Imagery—Taste, Smell, Touch, Sight, Sound Read the poem out loud to yourself. Select TWO examples (phrases or lines) of descriptive, poetic word choice. For example, they may use figurative language (such as a simile, metaphor, onomatopoeia, consonance, etc.); be a vivid, unique phrase or image; or be an example of rhythm or a rhyme pattern. Copy them below, using quotation marks. What do you visualize, feel, smell, taste, or hear? If figurative language is used, identify the poetic device.

6. Shape, Form, Rhyme Scheme Identify features such as stanzas, end pattern, structure, refrain, type (such as sonnet or haiku) or unusual conventions. What effect do they have?

7. Mood or Feeling What emotions or feelings does the poem give you? Explain how the poet creates this mood for you, including a word(s), phrase, or line.

8. Theme, Message, Life Lesson, or Symbolism Reading between the lines, what is a possible meaning or interpretation of the theme or symbols in this poem for you? What in the poem suggests this? Support your answer with references to the poem.

9. Unknown Word and Definition that fits the context.

10. Personal Response What is your positive (or not so positive) overall opinion of this poem? Would you recommend it to your classmates?