If you are looking for a creative way to assess student summer reading, have your kids design a Peek-a-Boo book scene. The purpose of the Peek-a-Boo book scene is to think about point of view, put yourself in the main character’s shoes, and see what the character sees. Or, you could add a twist to the project and ask students to consider events from a flipped perspective and design a scene that shows a different angle than what the narrator described in the book.
For the activity, students choose a favorite scene from a book they read and imagine what the character’s world looks like through his/her eyes. Students draw the scene using details from the text and then build their “window” pocket. To finish, readers slide the snapshot of the character’s view into the frame to create a unique peek inside the book’s world.
Peek-a-Boo Book Scene Options
- The simplest option for the drawing is to have students choose a favorite scene, imagine they are the main character, and create a drawing of the scene the way the book character would see it and describe it. If you want to make the activity a little more challenging, have students consider a different vantage point. They can draw the scene as an onlooker observing the main character or from the perspective of another character in the story who is involved in the scene.
- Draw multiple scenes and stack them in the frame pockets, so students can switch the view if they want to see something new.
- Use THESE PEEK-A-BOO TEMPLATES for the story scene drawings and the frames. You have the option to print a frame that has a wooden texture on it, or you can print solid white frames and let students design the outer edge. In the image below from Danny the Champion of the World by Dahl, you see a view through a keyhole into Danny’s gypsy caravan home. The frame has been decorated to look like an old gypsy caravan.
- Create your own type of frame. You could think about what Ivan sees in the mall and create a frame that looks like an animal cage if you are reading The One and Only Ivan by Applegate. You could design a shop store window and peek into Sarah’s bakery in The Bread Winner by Whitmore. I like THIS EXAMPLE for younger students with curtains. And I love THIS SCENE that gives the illusion of night with a flashlight beam.
- If you think creating the pocket for the scene picture to slide in and out will be too complicated for your group, simply attach the scene behind the window view with tape or glue. You would still need to cut the openings in the window view, but you could leave all the white border edges around the drawings and attach straight to the back of the peek-a-boo frame.
This craftivity can be adapted to use with almost any picture book or novel. In the samples below you see Luke’s view from the attic vents in Among the Hidden by Haddix (image 1), and Chester the cat’s view of the family living room in Bunnicula by Howe and Howe (image 2).
When readers think about story scenes from multiple viewpoints, they develop a deeper understanding of the characters. By analyzing the scene in different ways, students activate their critical thinking skills and become more observant readers. We often ask students to create a mental image of what is happening in the books they are reading; the peek-a-boo book scene gives students the opportunity to illustrate a concrete image of what is happening in the story and build a stronger connection to the book character’s world.
If you need more creative ideas to spice up your novel studies and guided reading activities, CLICK HERE to see another blog post with project ideas for chapter books.
To purchase low prep novel units mentioned in this blog post, click the links below.