Previewing a Novel with Sticky Notes

To introduce the students to our new novel, AND to get them looking at the various text features found in fictional text, I did something a bit different than I had done before and I wanted to share it with you.

I told the students the name of our book, which happens to be Gregor The Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Book 1) by Suzanne Collins.  JUST based on the title, I wanted the students to draw a conclusion as to what the story would be about.  I didn't show them the book.  I didn't tell them anything else.  I just wanted them to use the title only.  I then gave them a sticky note and they each wrote their thoughts down.  They then shared with a partner what they thought, and we placed it on our anchor chart.

Next, I showed them the cover of the book. I placed in on my ELMO, as I didn't want them to see the back just yet.  I zoomed in, so they could really see the detail and then asked them to pair share some ideas about what the story could be about now that they knew the title and saw the cover art.  How did the two of them combine to give a more full picture of the story?  What genre does it all lead towards?  The kids wrote down their ideas, shared out, and then placed the sticky note on the chart.

Finally, I handed out the book.  (On a side note, have you ever noticed how INCREDIBLY excited the kids are when you give them an actual book???  The LOVE LOVE LOVE it!)

Anyway, back to the lesson.  :)

Once they had the book, I asked the students to read the back cover summary.  Based on that, and all the other things we have discussed thus far, NOW what did they think the story would be about?  Did their conclusions about the cover art and title hold true with the addition of the summary?  Again, they wrote those down and we discussed them as a class.  This time, the kids were lighting up with the realization that each of the pieces really helped to broaden their picture of what the story would be about.  They all came together to paint a picture of something very interesting that they couldn't wait to read.

Doing this exercise really helped the students to see that each part of the book is thought about and really forms a complete puzzle together.  Each of the three text features we looked at helped the author to sell the story before it was even read.

What is something you do to preview the story you are going to embark on in class? 


  1. What a great idea...and a great book choice!!'
    Chickadee Jubilee

  2. Love this idea! I teach with Reading Street, but I like to break away from it and do actual novel studies because the kids don't find the stories in RS exciting or interesting. I'm starting Shiloh in a few weeks and I will definitely be using this! Thanks for sharing! :)
    Life in Fifth Grade

  3. I can't wait to try this book now with my class!

  4. So, I moved to 4th grade this year an I am starting our first novel study this week and I SOOOOO will be doing this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love the idea and can't wait!


  5. What a simple, yet brilliant idea!! I love that it draws attention to the text features; I'm always in dismay when my students can't even name the author of a book they've read because they don't usually look carefully!! Thanks!

  6. What an awesome way to build anticipation and buzz about the book! It will be fun for your students to remember what their initial predictions were as they progress through the book!

  7. This is a very good way to encourage kids to read. What others say about a book can influence other people so this can really bring positive results. Thanks for sharing!


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