When we read to our young children on a regular basis they learn so much about book covers at an early age.
Many young children who have had early literacy experiences can identify the title and author of a book just by looking at the cover before they even learn to read!
A great way to authentically assess children’s literacy knowledge is to read aloud a story and ask them to create a book cover for it.
First, choose a story your students haven’t read or heard in your classroom and don’t let them see the cover.
Have plain white paper, crayons, and pencils ready for children to make their practice sketches and first copy. Fold large pieces of white paper to resemble a book cover for their final copy.
Guide the students in creating a checklist like this they can refer to while working:
Do my words tell something important about the story?
Does my drawing show something important about the story?
Does my drawing give the reader clues about the story?
Is my drawing colorful?
Did I show all the important things that go on a book cover?
Explain to the students that you will be assessing their knowledge of the story by their book cover and that it should include:
The Main Character
The Author’s and Illustrator’s names
Tell your students that the book cover should be colorful, detailed, inviting, and imaginative.
Here are some great stories to start with for children in PreK-Grade 2:
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats
Music, Music for Everyone by Vera B. Williams
The Red Jacket Mix-Up by Ari Hill
Older students can show their understanding of books read or listened to by including a summary on the back cover of their specially designed book cover.
Great books for this for grades 3-6 include:
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
Superfudge by Judy Blume
The Ada Lace Series by Emily Calandrelli
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
A Dog Called Homeless by Sara Lean
Another idea is to have students create book covers for stories they write. Children of all ages enjoy the chance to be authors and illustrators and it allows us, as teachers, to see their progress and understanding of story elements in an authentic way.
I hope you found this post worthwhile and that it inspires you to try this easy and authentic way to gather information about your students’ literacy development.
Although there are many ways to measure the progress and understanding of a student, creative tasks with clear expectations. such as book cover assessments, give children the opportunity to show how much they have learned in a developmentally appropriate stress-free way.
I appreciate your time and attention and would love to connect further. Please feel free to leave me a comment, email, or even a link if you have something to share. I will be sure to get back to you in a timely fashion.