Elementary School Report Tips
Tiffani Chin (Founder/Executive Director, EdBoost Learning Center) gives expert video advice on: My child hates writing book reports; how can I encourage her to enjoy them?; How can I help my child write impressive research reports? and more...
What homework projects should my elementary school child expect?
There are usually two main types of elementary school reports. There is a book report where a child reads a book and writes a report about it. There is also a research report where you have to do some kind of outside research on a subject, whether it's a state, animal, famous scientist, famous woman, famous African American, etc. The elementary school child has to write a research report on that topic.
What is a "book report"?
Your basic book report is a report about a book the student's read. Your basic components, you've got to list your main characters, you've got to talk about the setting, you've got to do a basic plot summary. Usually students have to write some kind of review about the book, or if there's a moral or a theme in the book, they've got to put that in. A lot of times teachers will ask for a genre, so is it a historical fiction book, or an adventure book, a mystery book, what kind of book is it?
What is the "one sentence per paragraph rule" for research reports?
One of the problems that students, parents, and teacher struggle with is plagiarism. I think it's kind of epidemic, especially with the internet it's really easy for kids to cut and paste and move things over. At college nowadays, professors are increasingly having students turn in their work through a website that actually checks how much of the work can be found on the internet and I know a number of high schools around here are doing the same thing.So, it's getting to be one of those things that we really want to teach kids, morally but also practically, how they can use information and not plagiarize it .What we work with is a "one sentence per paragraph" rule. Basically we ask kids to read through a paragraph in their source material, whether it's an internet page, a book, or an encyclopedia, and then give a one sentence summary and that's the summary that goes into their notes. It forces them to condense the information; it forces them to understand the information and it forces them to take a good hunk of information and put it into their own words. So, if you're really struggling with your child, and they really just want to copy things word for word - some of them won't do the outlines, won't do the clusters. They get really frustrated; they just want to write it.That's one thing you can say, "Alright, you're going to summarize one paragraph - one sentence for each paragraph that you read. "It's a little more of a direct writing process. It's not your ideal writing process, but at least you make sure that they understand what they're doing, that it's in their own words, and that they're not plagiarizing anything.