One of the requests I often get from classroom teachers is for project ideas suitable for gifted students. This is the first in what I hope will be an ongoing series of posts with simple ideas for going beyond the usual to tap into the needs and interests of your students looking for more challenge. Here are some ideas for how to spice up your reading projects.

Author Study

Read several books by one author and look for common ideas, themes, and patterns. Does the author’s writing style change from book to book? Or read a biography of an author and one of his or her books. Do you see any connections or parallels?

Topic Study

Read several fiction books about one topic or historical period. Compare with factual books about the topic and see how the authors incorporated fact into fiction.

Award study

Read many books that won a particular award (such as the Newbery or Caldecott Awards) and see if you notice features that they have in common. What did the reviewers look for in choosing a book to receive the award?

Genre study

Read several books in a genre and figure out what makes a book fit that category. Are there books that could fit in more than one genre? Are there books that don’t seem to fit any genre?

Create an Anthology

An anthology is a collection of writing by many different authors. Usually there is a theme that connects all the pieces. Read a large number of pieces about a particular theme or idea and select ones to put into an anthology you are creating. List each title and explain why it belongs in your book.