Children's Literature Lesson Plans and Activities

Teaching children's literature can be fun when you incorporate activities into your lessons. Many children's literature units include discussions and comprehension activities, but you can incorporate alternative activities into your lesson plans, as well. Keep reading for a few useful suggestions.

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Teaching Literature

The Importance of Children's Literature

Children's literature can be essential for the development of your students. Through reading literature, your students will gain essential fluency and comprehension skills. Fluency is a child's ability to read a text smoothly, while comprehension is a child's ability to understand it.

To encourage a positive reading environment in the classroom, it can be helpful to have your class read books for pleasure, as well as for school. Create a class reading corner and allow your students to choose books from library book lists or lists you can find online. Make sure that these are fun books that get your class excited about reading. Set aside a time for quiet reading each day.

Analyzing and Discussing a Text

It's important to help your students think analytically and critically about literature. Hold class and small-group discussions about books. Encourage your students to analyze a book by asking pointed questions about characters, dilemmas, tone, atmosphere and events that are present in the text. Ask students to make predictions about what might occur.

When holding discussions about literature, be sure to include everyone. It's important that everyone is given the opportunity to express his or her thoughts and is treated with equal respect. Although some students will have more to say than others, be sure that introverted learners are given a chance to speak.

Writing about Literature

It can help students to flesh out ideas and opinions about certain texts by writing about them. A classic way is by having your students write reports about books you assign or they have chosen themselves. You could also go a more creative route. For example, pick a character from one book and a character from another. Have your class form small groups and write stories about what could happen if these two characters were to meet and go on an adventure together.

Classroom Activities

At the end of a novel, have students write a letter to the author. Encourage them to discuss what they liked about the book and how they felt about the characters. Treat the letter to the author as an analytical essay. Students will be able to practice analysis but will have fun because they'll be writing a letter to a real person.

Act out a novel in your classroom by dividing students into groups and assigning each group a chapter. Each group should write a script and rehearse it. Let all the groups perform their skits on the same day and in the same order as the novel's chapters. For extra fun, set up the classroom like a movie theater and give students popcorn. This activity will let you monitor students' comprehension and incorporate writing into your children's literature lesson plans.

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