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How to Plan a Novel Study

Incorporating novels and chapter books into your reading instruction doesn’t have to be scary or stressful. While there are many elements to consider when you start to plan a novel study, breaking it down and taking the time to carefully plan it, you can create an enjoyable and educational experience for you and your kids.

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How to Plan a Novel Study

Novel studies take a significant amount of time. It’s important to approach them with purpose and planning to make them successful.

Novel studies can expose students to the viewpoints or experiences of others. They offer a setting for readers to watch and take part in the material they have never experienced in real life.

Planning the Perfect Novel Study

Now that we’re all on the same page with the background information, it’s time to dig into the steps to planning a novel study.

I’ll break down each step below, but here’s the general overview:

  • #1 – Set your purpose.
  • #2 – Pick a framework & texts.
  • #3 – Determine your timeline.
  • #4 – Map your unit.

Step 1: Set your purpose.

When you started considering a novel study for your class, you had a purpose. If you aren’t sure, consider asking yourself some questions:

  • Why did you decide this might be the next logical step in your instruction?
  • When you finish this unit, what are you expecting your students to know or be able to do?
  • What are you hoping students will carry into the real world?

Step 2: Pick Your Text

It’s time to pick your novel. Decide need to start by picking a book or books for students to read.

Or suppose your students are all at very different reading levels. In that case, a family novel study may not be the best opportunity to address these.

Things to Consider:

  • Do I have a firm grasp of the novel’s content?
  • Is the novel a good fit for my student’s needs & abilities?
  • Does the novel align with my purpose & target skills?
  • Are there enough copies for my students?
  • Will my students find the characters & plot interesting?
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Step 3: Create Your Timeline

Now that all the foundational pieces are in place, you’re down to the nitty-gritty! Your novel study will be ready in no time. How many weeks do you anticipate your novel study will take?

Based on the timeline you specified above, how many pages or chapters will students need to read each day?

Step 4: Map Your Novel Study

Considering the page breakdown you did at the end of step 3, begin going through the book and reviewing each section.

You might find that you need to make some adjustments based on how the plot unfolds or specific skills you want to teach.

As you work through the book, begin recording the daily reading & target skills. You can also make notes about specific items you may want to cover.

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