When I was in teaching in the fourth grade classroom I used a a variety of approaches to meet the needs of my learners. One of my favorite reading tools was novel studies. In today’s blog I will be talking about the importance of novel studies and why you should be using them in the classroom.
But first, what is a novel study?
A novel study is, simply put, when the class reads a novel and studies it. This can be done in many ways: as a teacher read aloud or each student having their own copy are two ways to use novel studies in the classroom. In a novel study the teacher is the one guiding the students through the book. This differs from book clubs or literature circles where students take the leadership roles. I would switch between novel studies and literature circles often. Want to read more about literature circles? Check out this blog post.
Novel studies are great for exposing students to books that they wouldn’t have necessarily picked to read themselves. Not every student will love every book pick, but exposing students to a wide variety of novels is helpful in expanding book choice.
2. Improve Comprehension
I have done novel studies in two ways. The first was to read aloud the book while the students listened and responded. The second way is similar, except each student had a copy to follow along. Novel studies are excellent to improve comprehension because you are able to stop as you read, ask questions, and clarify the text.
3. Showcases Good Reading Skills
While reading the novel aloud the teacher will be modeling good reading skills. Some of the skills include fluency, intonation, the thinking process, etc. The teacher will use the novel study as an opportunity to teach the students how to be good readers. They will model inferencing, summarizing, visualizations, connections, questions, and so much more.
4. Speaking & Listening Skills
When working through a novel study students will need to listen and respond to their teacher and peers. Discussions will happen about the book. Students will be making connections, asking, and answering questions. They will be taking turns to speak, listening to what their peers are saying, and responding to the conversation.
5. Even Big Kids Love Read Alouds
When I taught fourth grade my students would get SO excited when I read novels aloud. They would beg for more. It was nice down time for them to sit back and listen. They were learning so much. This time was especially helpful for my reluctant readers because they were able to enjoy reading without the stress of reading itself.
I have clarified the importance of novel studies and their usefulness in the elementary classroom. However, that doesn’t mean more work for you! There are so many resources at your fingertips; you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Want to try novel studies in your own classroom? Save your time with pre-made novel studies!
See all my novel studies by clicking here.
Friendship According to Humphrey
Punished Novel Study
This is a personal favorite because it lends itself to novel studies so well. It is about a boy who is punished and to cure the punishment has to search for examples of literary devices.