Grade: elementary
Subject: Literature

Teachers.Net Lesson Plans

#28. Chapter Books

Literature, level: elementary
Posted by Angela Ackley (
The Teacher's Desk
Ashtabula Catholic Middle School, US
Materials Required: single copy of novel
Activity Time: approx. 1 week, depending on length of novel
Concepts Taught: cooperative learning, reading comprehension

Have you ever found a great book that you would like to use with your
class, only to find you don't have enough copies for an entire class
set? Perhaps all you have is one copy. Chapter Books is an activity that
might help solve your dilemma. With a single copy of a novel you can
provide your students with some great learning experiences.


A.Select a novel appropriate for your class's reading level and
interest. Make sure this is a copy you don't mind destroying
B.Separate the cover of the book from the pages, being careful to keep
it in one piece.
C.Separate the chapters from each other. You may find that you have to
make machine copies of certain pages since the last page of a chapter
may be on the back of the first page of the next.
D.Orally read chapter one to the whole class. Develop comprehension by
asking literal, inferential, and evaluative questions about the content.
Discuss literary aspects of setting, characters and their traits, plot (
a must for this activity), suspense, etc... Record the responses for
each skill on separate pieces of chart paper.
E.Divide the class into three or four groups. Give one of the separate
chapters to each group.
F.The group is to read the chapter, write three comprehension questions
about its content, and discuss whatever literary skill on which you wish
to focus.
G.Next the group records its responses on sheets of chart paper,
beginning with the plot and ending with the comprehension questions
complete with answers.
H.In chronological order, the groups share the content of their chapters
and display their charts for the entire class to view.
I.After all the groups have shared, read the next chapter orally to the
entire class, once again discussing and recording your areas of choice.
J.Assign separate chapters to groups, repeating steps F-H until all
chapters but the last have been completed.
K.Make sure the last chapter is one that you orally read to the class.
L.Provide a culminating activity for your students that focuses on the
content of the entire book.

And there you have it! You've made one copy of a book stretch to
accomodate an entire class of students. I wouldn't recommend this
reading method for every novel. It's not the best way for students to
approach literature, but it works well in a pinch and stretches an often
too thin school reading budget. In addition, you can often complete an
entire book in one week's time.

I often use this method when introducing a literary genre. For instance,
I'll begin a unit on historical fiction by selecting a historical
fiction novel to use as a chapter book. During this stage, I develop the
literary characteristics that are unique to this genre.After completing
the novel as a Chapter Book, students are assigned specific titles from
class sets to read individually or in a group.