Paperless Independent Novel Study

During a time when distance learning is more prominent than ever, online learning resources are vital to our teaching and to the learning of our students. Reading is a part of every English Language Arts classroom. Whether it be a whole-class novel study or independent novel, reading is a great way to help students escape the 'new normal' that our entire planet is now facing. Right now, we are essentially forced to go paperless, so here are some things you can do with your students during this unprecedented time.

To assist and encourage reading with my own students during their time out of the classroom, I create a Paperless Independent Novel Study. Why am I choosing an independent novel study over a whole-class study? First, I want students to WANT to read while they are not in an actual classroom. Not only will it be a needed escape, but I want them to be genuinely interested in what they are reading to keep them engaged. Let me walk you through how this works. Of course, when classes resume, you can grab a printable copy of this same resource if preferred HERE.


Here are some suggestions to help your students get access to some books, while they are distance learning:

- Scribd (Free for 30 days. Thanks to Room 213 for sharing!)
- Amazon (Check out their free books! Thanks to Tracee Orman for sharing)
- Open Library (Free digital checkouts! Thanks to The Daring English Teacher for sharing!)
- Book Flix
- Libby


Setting up a Google account is fairly simple and fast. In addition, it is FREE. So, for many of the resources you may be purchasing over the next few weeks, it would likely be helpful to have a Google account. Check out this webpage to help you get started! If you are going to use Google resources in your new digital classroom, then both the teacher and your students will need to create an account.


Now, that everyone has their own Google account, you can get started! Once you purchase a digital resource, a link will be shared with you within that download. It's that link that you will be sharing with your students to access the digital learning resource.


This may not be your (or their) first rodeo when it comes to using a Google resource, but in the event that it is, (from that link you provided them) students will be instructed to 'make a copy'. This will be their own individual copy and they can re-name the file as they wish.

You can definitely be flexible with the organization of this Digital Distance Learning Independent Novel Study (in regards to how many and what particular assignments that you may want your students to complete), but this digital online novel study has been designed to be set up into three different parts.

Should you decide to organize the unit in this manner, have your students divide their novel into three equal parts (or as close to) ideally, at the end of a chapter. As a class, you can set a goal as to how long it will take everyone to read to their designated section (ex: four days). They can decide for themselves how many minutes a day they will need to read to complete the section (as the sizes of the sections will vary for each student). They can keep track of their reading in the digital reading log provided.


Each of the three sections has a set of short reading response questions that will need to be answered. This is an easy way for them to reflect on what they have been reading.


Three differentiated activities have been provided for each section and can be completed upon completion of the section. There is no set order to complete the activities and they are also optional, so you can pick and choose which activities you may or may not like to complete.


A final wrap-up activity can be completed as a way to both reflect on the novel and share the information with other peers who may be interested in reading the book. There are many different platforms teachers are using to interact with their students, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. This book talk could either be done live with the class or perhaps students could record a video and send it to you to be shared with the class. Again, this is completely optional, so if this seems like an unmanageable step, then you can disregard it.


If you are looking for an additional way for your students to respond to a text, then this FREE Interactive Reading Connections Foldable is a great way to start. This activity can be used with any text, play or movie and it requires students to look deeper into the various characters, the setting and/or the theme of a novel. A Google Slides digital copy has also been included within the download. This paperless version of the activity can easily be incorporated into any unit, including the resource shared in this post. It's just another way to get your students thinking - paperless, of course! :)

Check out these other paperless ideas from my fellow Coffee Shop members:

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