To ensure that thinking and understanding are taking place both during and after reading, a conversation about the book is critical. Conversations about books should be taking place in the classroom and at home. In this article, you will find a fun printable reading worksheet that students complete at home to promote discussions about books with their families!
Parents always ask me what they can do at home to help their child with reading. I respond, "The best way to help children with reading is by discussing books." Many parents listen to their children read or they read to their children, but “the discussion” about a book often gets cut short or doesn't happen at all. To ensure that thinking and understanding are taking place both during and after reading, a conversation about the book is critical. Here's a fun way to get students talking about books with their families!
Available for download is the Book Talk Placemat. This interactive book discussion for kids was originally created with Thanksgiving in mind, but it can be used during any family mealtime.
HOW THE READING ACTIVITY SHEET WORKS:
It's actually very simple. Your students write questions around the boarder of the placemat and then decorate the center to make it visually appealing. The purpose of the placemat is to engage the entire family in a discussion about books.
Students can write general questions about books, so everyone at their dinner table can participate. For example:
What is your favorite book?
What series do you enjoy reading?
What character do you want to know more about?
What is your favorite genre? Least favorite genre?
What author would you like to have over to dinner?
Then have your students decorate the center of the placemat with a holiday in mind such as Thanksgiving or for a more general approach they can draw a picture of their favorite book or character.
Or give the placemat template to parents to complete with their children and they can focus on one book read as a family. The questions on this placemat would pertain to just one book. For example:
What was the solution to the problem?
How did the setting impact the story?
Which character did you like best? Why?
What is a possible theme?
State a possible lesson that can be learned from the main character.
You can suggest to parents that if they have access to a copy machine they may want to photocopy the placemats to have one for each place setting. Also covering the placemats with contact paper will allow for repeated usage. I am always surprised to hear how many of my students do not have dinner as a family. Encouraging your students and their parents to have a 'Book Talk Dinner' at least once during the week or month will foster a love of books and an opportunity for a family meal.