Using Task Cards for Novel Studies

Using Task Cards for Novel Studies

I love task cards. I use them in every subject area, but I used to always associate them with math. Not anymore. I started using task cards for novel studies this year and it has changed my life. Maybe that sounds silly, but I mean it.

How I got started using task cards with my novel studies

For many years, my colleagues and I would create and copy novel study packets for our students every week. The groups were differentiated and the packets were text dependent, so we had to precisely calculate how many packets were needed in order to not waste too much paper.

So, as a language arts and social studies teacher, I had two classes every year. There were between 25 and 30 students in each class and each packet was 4 pages long. (This is starting to sound a little like “When I Was Going to St. Ives”.) Invariably, at least 5 students would lose their packets, so the teachers would have to run more copies of the packets. It was a nightmare. You get the picture.

How My Students Use the Task Cards with Our Novels

I decided to create discussion cards for my novel studies and I’m NEVER going back. Why? Glad you asked. I type up the questions on discussion cards, print them out on card stock, laminate them, and distribute them to my students at the beginning of a class meeting or guided reading session. I have discussion questions ready for a session. Each student only answers one question to prepare for the discussion. S/he writes the answer to the text dependent question in his/her notebook. After that, we have a discussion and use accountable talk to agree, disagree, add on, and clarify. When the discussion ends, students return the cards to me and their answers remain IN THEIR NOTEBOOKS. No one has a packet to lose.

Pictured are cards for Wringer, Riding Freedom, and Wonder
Pictured are discussion cards for Wringer, Riding Freedom, and Wonder

How the Task Cards Have Helped Me

Creating this system also helped me organize, facilitate, and model discussions with the whole class novel, The Tiger Rising, so that I could set up expectations for the rest for the year. I am excited to launch book clubs using this system.

I have several sets of discussion cards, complete novel studies, and digital novel studies on TpT. All are linked below. Learn more about Riding Freedom and Wringer.

If you use any of my discussion cards in your classroom, I would LOVE to hear your feedback!

Happy Reading!

Affiliate Links and Links to Teachers Pay Teachers Products:

Realistic Fiction Book Club Bundle

Danny, the Champion of the World Discussion Cards

Hoot Discussion Cards

The Jacket Discussion Cards

Just Juice Discussion Cards

Riding Freedom Bundle

Wonder Discussion Cards

Wringer Mini Bundle

This Post Has 5 Comments

    1. amazingmaterials4you

      I use them all of the time.

  1. Jamie

    I love using task cards! I’ve never thought to use them with novel studies. Thanks for sharing!

    1. amazingmaterials4you

      I love using them.

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