Reading - Choice Book Assigments - Nature

Choice books were a big deal when I first started teaching. As my career went on, choice book assignments were generally replaced with test prep. If you still use choice books, here is a student choice kind of project: they choose the book AND how many assignments to do in order to get the grade. It was probably a sign of the kind of students I was trying to teach that 90% did less than A-level amounts of work.

Link to Google Doc


Full assignment below. Some formatting lost.


English 11

Nature Choice Book Project                    DUE: _________________

Directions: You will be in control of your own grade for this project. You will be graded on a 100 point scale, but you have the opportunity to attempt up to 120 points. Keep in mind that this is part of the Compositions grade, and therefore a portion of the 35% total for the semester. Since the project is out of 100, the scale is as follows:

101-120 = A+

90-100 = typical A range

80-89 = typical B range

70-79 = typical C range

60-69 = typical D range

59 and below = typically not what you want

Select your book and begin reading. If you read 20-30 pages and realize you don’t like the book, go back and get another.

Bring the book to class EACH day. You will be given class time to read or work on projects (only if students bring their books). You will be evaluated for productive use of class time on read/work days, regardless of what’s “at home.”

Assignments will be checked in as they are completed. You will also turn the project in as a finished product. If you are not keeping up with expectations, however, a call home may be necessary. You should be able to produce 2-4 assignments per week.

If a film version of your book exists, you must include a paper on the differences between the film and the book (see “Review” assignment below).

All written work is to be typed, double-spaced, and spell-checked.


(5) Cover page: Create a cover page with drawings or pictures that depict images from your book. Do not just use a photo of the cover of your book—that’s just boring, and someone else’s idea of what an image of the book looks like. Include your book, your name, class hour, and the title of your project.

(20) Essay assignment: Reflect on your own views of (or relationship with) nature. Write an essay or a short story expressing/explaining/illustrating your views. Write about it as a source of inspiration and comfort or as a powerful force to be feared. Be specific and cite personal experience. 1.5-2.5 pages.

(20) Take-home test: Explain the conflict/relationship that the narrator or character of your book experiences. Quote at least three passages that illustrate your point. Basically, find three quotes that are related and use them to prove the existence of a certain conflict. (cite pages)

(5) Summarize your book in about 100 words

(10) New knowledge: What do you know now about nature after having read the book that you did not know before? One page+

(5) Why included? Why is this book in the nature unit? Consider the following to help you decide: Man in harmony with nature; Seasons in nature; The wonder of nature; A naturalist’s detailed observation of nature; Man’s struggle with nature; Nature and death; Animals in nature; etc. 50 word+

(10) Important passage: Choose a passage from your book that conveys a significant idea, feeling, or experience of the author. You could also choose a passage that demonstrates the writer’s talent. Write an explanation for your choice of this passage, and explain its significance to the overall effect of the novel. Be sure to be specific in your analysis.

(15) Review: Examine the book as a literary piece and explain why the book was either good or bad. Think about who the author is writing for (audience) and whether or not the likely goals of the book have been met. You must say WHY a part of the book is good or bad, not just that you “liked this one part.” If a film exists for your book, you should plan on proving you read it by writing both a film review and a book review. (You can also do a compare/contrast paper.)

(10) Seasonal poem: Create your own seasonal poem. It should relate to your book somehow, and remember that you do not have to rhyme to be good. If you struggle, look up someone else’s interpretation of the same season—just be sure the final product is your own, as it’s exceedingly sad to steal poetry.

(10) Copied poem and analysis: Find and copy a poem that reinforces a theme of your book. Write the theme and how the poem/theme fits your book.

(15) Brochure: Prepare a brochure as if you are advertising the book for a publisher. Choose a way to present the book visually (again, don’t use a picture of the cover). Promote the book and be persuasive.

(10) Collage:  Convey the elements of the setting presented by the author. You may also use the collage to identify themes presented in the book. Explain in a paragraph.

(10) Video: Film a scene from your book. This can be using live subjects or maybe action figures in remote settings. Just turn dialogue from the book into lines in the video.

(5) Playlist and lyrics: Select a playlist of songs that describe the story or a main character (ten songs) and then find the lyrics for at least one of the songs.