Activity Types: BookGuides

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What are BookGuides?

A BookGuide is a collection of meaningful activities and information related to a picture book--or, as Regie Routman describes bookguides in Invitations, "a flexible framework for using a book holistically" (pg. 84). Routman further recommends that the BookGuide include questions and activities that do the following:

  • enhance readers' enjoyment of the book and bring them back to the text for reexamination

  • actively involve the reader

  • promote critical thinking

  • allow readers to examine their own feelings (pgs. 84-85 in the Invitations text)

For more information, see the article, "A guide for the teacher guides: Doing it yourself," by Susan Hepler, that describes more fully the reasons for using BookGuides. (See Hepler, Susan. "A Guide for the Teacher Guides: Doing It Yourself." New Advocate, 1(3) 1988, 186-95. EJ 374 854)

Although this is a superb activity to build a teaching resource for young teachers, the act of gathering information and activities that appropriately center around one book is also an excellent way for K-12 students to build cross-curricular connections. The BookGuide is constructed using MS Word or AppleWorks Draw and includes many of the following items:

  1. Book Summary-- list author/illustrator, a brief summary (2-3 sentences) of the storyline or content, and plot, characters, artwork, theme, as appropriate

  2. Thinking Critically (Creation of three sets of questions that can be used to guide discussion before, during, and after reading):

    • Pre-reading or Initiating Activites--such as book introduction and making predictions using the book cover/jacket, chapter titles, opening pictures, dedication

    • Reading Discussion Activities--include phrase questions that invite responses and ask for evidence

    • Post-reading Activities-used as comprehension checks (such as folding a piece of paper in three parts and have students write events that happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the story)

  3. Writing activity--diary, journal entry, newspaper article, explanation, description, poem, etc. Write the directions that you, the teacher, will use to get the students to write the diary, journal entry, article, explanation...etc.

  4. Discussion activity--critical thinking questions or creation of a concept map that extends discussion by reacting to the book as a whole.

  5. Art activity--write up an activity that could be created that relates to the story or book content. Directions must include all steps.

  6. An Internet activity--linklist, scavenger hunt, treasure hunt, virtual field trip, keypals, impersonation activity, photo journal, etc.

  7. Author Information--include biography material about the author or Internet links to author web site.

View Sample BookGuide

Copyright 2002-2011 Handy4Class Project


Candace Figg, PhD
Brock University
Faculty of Education, Teacher Education Department
500 Glenridge, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1
(905.688.5550, x5347)


Jenny Burson, EdD
University of Texas at Austin (retired)
Education Department, Curriculum and Instruction
jburson@mail.utexas.edu