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Novel Study Activities | ELA Lesson Plans

When teachers use novels in the classroom, they often employ a variety of activities and lessons to enhance students' understanding of the story as well as broaden their vocabulary and their analytical skills. This guide is designed for teachers to use with any novel. While we have dozens and dozens of tailored lesson plans in our Teacher Resources, if teachers cannot find a particular book, they can find plenty of lessons and activities in this guide to meet their needs!

Student Activities for Novel Study

General Novel Study

In this guide, teachers can pick and choose from the various activities to suit their needs for a novel study with their class. The first six activities are widely used lessons when conducting a novel study: Character Map, Plot Diagram, Setting, Visual Vocabulary, Themes, Symbols, and Motifs, and finally, Favorite Quote or Scene. These activities use the ever popular and universally well-known story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" for the examples to help illustrate what a final product can look like for students. The ten additional activities offer opportunities for deeper analysis and investigation into literary devices as well as engaging ways to "show what they know". They can be used for a broad range of novels and short stories across any grade level, and instructions can be tailored and scaffolded to meet the needs of students.

Essential Questions

  1. Who are some of the main characters and what challenges do they face?
  2. What are some of the symbols and motifs present in the novel? How does the symbolism help you better understand the characters and their motivations?
  3. What are some of the themes present in the novel?
  4. What messages, lessons, or morals does the author try to impart to the reader?

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