Have you ever heard of story stretchers? They are chapter book activities that go along with books. Activities like story stretchers are usually associated with picture books, but they don’t end there! You can extend the stories of chapter books, too. Incorporate chapter book activities to make reading more dynamic for your growing readers.
Chapter books aren’t always straightforward. It can be harder to find a related activity to connect with the story because chapter books usually have larger (or easier) overarching themes or broader characters with easy connection points. Picture books may seem easier for connecting activity ideas. But in this article, I’ll show you how you can do the same thing with chapter books, too.
Chapter book activities build reading comprehension and fluency skills, all while deepening the connection to the book and possibly the reader’s heart and creative mind. These are big wins that build readers who love to read!
Chapter Book Activities
Here is a list of ways to incorporate chapter book activities when reading any chapter book.
Pick a character from the book. It doesn’t have to be the main character or even your favorite. Who stands out to you? Now, write a description about them. Not just their physical appearance, include their personality and story arc. You can even describe what it would be like to know them in real life. Would they be a good friend? A fun person? Or a hard to hang out with? Draw a picture of them, too.
Write A Letter
Take that character description further by writing them a letter! Not an email but an actual pen-to-paper letter. What do you want to say to them? You can also write to the author or publishing company too. Tell them what you thought of the book. Would you like another one like it? Why or why not?
If the book has no illustrations, why not make some? Draw a picture of a favorite scene or the main character. Draw a detail from each chapter. Draw what the book made you think about. Draw yourself in a chapter or one of the situations. Or just doodle while someone else reads to you. For some learners, drawing increases focus and attention!
Write the Cliff Notes
After reading a chapter, summarize it in your own words. What stood out to you? What helped move the story along? What happened to the main characters? This is also a great way to teach about foreshadowing, plot, and character development.
Chapter Book Clubs
As an adult, I love a good book club. Why not have a chapter book club for younger readers too? Discuss the book as a whole or chapter by chapter. Review it. Would you recommend it? Was there a book you liked better? Don’t worry if you don’t have a group of peers, either. A book club just needs two people who read the book! And maybe some snacks.
Come up with three to five words that sum up the chapter. Or a single sentence. A fun way to do this is by using those Poetry Magnets or other word cards or cubes. It really gets that creative brain working!
Find A Read Alike
Find another chapter book that has a similar theme or main character. What makes them the same? What makes them different? If that chapter book you are currently reading is part of a series, find a read alike that is not part of the series.
Chapter books have many merits and can help get learners thinking on a whole new level. Even reluctant readers can find a chapter book activity connecting them to the book. In fact, it might even get them more excited about reading!
Building a deeper connection to the material will also strengthen fluency, confidence, and comprehension. (All necessary for a lifelong reader.) Studies have shown that reading can also build empathy and compassion. So curl up with a good chapter book and connect one of these chapter book activities to it.
Let me know some of your favorite chapter books and chapter book activities in the comments!