Using Task Cards for Novel Studies

January 5, 2019 5 Comments

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. 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.

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.

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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.

Please enjoy the discussion cards for The Tiger Rising. I do not sell these on Teachers Pay Teachers because I did not write them, myself. I do have several sets of discussion cards, complete novel studies, and digital novel studies on TpT. All are linked below.

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:

Danny, the Champion of the World

Hoot – Discussion Cards

Hoot – Digital Discussion Cards for Google Classroom

The Jacket – Discussion Cards

Just Juice – Discussion Cards

Riding Freedom – Discussion Cards

Riding Freedom – Digital Discussion Cards for Google Classroom

Riding Freedom – Complete Novel Study

Riding Freedom _ BUNDLE

Wonder – Discussion Cards

Wringer – Discussion Cards in Color and Black and White

Wringer – Digital Discussion Cards for Google Classroom

Wringer – Complete Novel Study


The Tiger Rising FREEBIE

Fonts by: Amanda Newsome A Perfect Blend Teaching Resources


Currently, I teach fifth grade and have taught fifth grade since 2011. Before teaching fifth grade, I taught third grade, first grade, kindergarten, preschool, baby and toddler music, college, and graduate school. I am a mom of two daughters, a Maltese dog, and a tuxedo cat.

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  • […] Using Task Cards for Novel Studies […]

  • Allie Elliott February 3, 2019 at 10:51 am

    I love using task cards too! These look awesome!

    • amazingmaterials4you February 4, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      I use them all of the time.

  • Jamie February 4, 2019 at 7:28 am

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

    • amazingmaterials4you February 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      I love using them.

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    The letters of my first name inspired the name of this blog and the names of my other business ventures, so when you think of me, just remember AM4Y. I started my teaching journey in 1987 and have taught every age from babies to fifth grade as well as college and graduate school in Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Colorado, and Virginia. I have a B.A. in English and Psychology from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and an M.A.T. in curriculum and instruction from The University of Memphis. In addition, I have completed more graduate work at The University of Maryland and The University of Colorado, Denver. I am a mom of two young adult daughters and a cute Maltese dog. When I am not teaching, you can find me traveling, reading, hiking, or cooking. Read More

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