benefits of novel studies for 4th grade
Blog, Text Analysis

5 Benefits of Novel Studies for 4th Grade

Do you love novel studies as much as I do? Or maybe you are overwhelmed with where to begin when doing a novel study with your class? Maybe you aren’t even sure of the benefits of novel studies?

Novel studies are absolutely MY JAM! 4th grade is actually the prime time to begin novel studies, in my opinion. There are benefits of doing novel studies for all upper elementary, middle and high school grades of course.

Using Slacker by Jordan Korman as a novel study

What is a Novel Study?

First, you may be wondering, what is a novel study? In simple terms, it is literally the process of reading and studying a book closely. I explain exactly HOW to study a novel with your students in this blog post.

What Types of Books Should 4th Graders Read?

Novel studies can work with either fiction or nonfiction books.

Some of my favorite books to use for novel studies for 4th grade are:

{Below are all Amazon affiliate links. You do not pay any more for the books. I simply receive a small commission for recommending them to you. }

Using A Long Walk to Remember and Wonder for novel studies for 4th grade

Why Are Novel Studies Important?

Novel studies are important because as students get older, you want to make sure that their love for reading GROWS, not declines. A lot of the curriculum for upper elementary grades can be met with boring short stories and passages. It is important that as teachers, we strive to continue to engage our students in wonderful novels and series in which they become HOOKED on characters, EXPERIENCE emotions, and THRIVE on the suspense. You know what else? There is actually some powerful learning that happens when your community of students study a novel TOGETHER.

The exposition of a novel study for 4th grade

What is the Purpose of a Novel Study?

Like I said above, novel studies are my jam but not everyone may feel that way. I love letting my students dig into the richness of a novel. Let’s be serious-it’s hard for me not to just dive into a novel for the entire school year because there is so much to discuss and SO MUCH that I want to say.

Novel studies are a great way to hit all of the important parts of the text by doing a close read of the novel and analyzing the key points.

Novel studies help build reading stamina

Besides just loving them, I have come up with 5 main benefits of novel studies that I want to share with you:

1. Novel Studies Help Build Reading Stamina

Why do we care about reading stamina so much? Well, it is a life skill first of all, plus reading stamina will actually help students when taking standardized tests. (#BigWin)

2. Studying Literature as a Class Builds Connections and Community

Students are able to make deeper connections with one another as they find commonalities between characters, settings, plot lines, etc. Plus, there is nothing better than to watch students bond over certain books together.

3. Doing a Novel Study Helps Students Better Analyze a Complex Text

Analyzing books can be pretty difficult for students. I always use this companion: Novel Study for Any Novel to help students with their text analysis of a chapter book. It is an interactive text analysis and you can literally use this resource with ANY BOOK that you are doing a novel study on! (#TeacherTimeSaver)

The design of this particular Novel Study for Any Novel makes it easy for students to see the progression of that “Plot Roller Coaster” or “Plot Mountain” that they’ve been drawing and discussing since 1st grade. 

using text analysis of a chapter book during a novel study

4. Novel Studies Help to Reveal New Genres to Students

Let’s be honest-students get stuck on certain books that they like and stick to that genre. Novel studies help them to branch out and read outside of their favorite genre at times.

5. Studying Literature Builds Vocabulary and Background Knowledge

Reading books and studying literature in general helps to build a student’s vocabulary and background knowledge of certain subjects. Being exposed to different books through novel studies helps continue with this in upper elementary and beyond.

studying literature builds background knowledge and vocabulary

Novel Study for Any Novel

If you are planning to do novel studies in your class this year, check out the Novel Study for Any Novel resource. It’s meant to work for ANY novel study that you do. (Make sure to check out the list of recommended books above!)

It can be used for novel studies for 4th grade through 8th grade. Plus it’s interactiveCCSS aligned and a flexible resource for all novel studies. (yes this means that you do NOT have to purchase separate novel study activity sheets for every single class novel that you read!)

In addition the Novel Study for Any Novel has:

  • Front/Back Interactive text analysis guide sheets
  • Skill themed text analysis guide sheets: Character traits, theme, main idea, rising action, falling action, climax, resolution, conflict, summary, close read, point of view, and MORE!
  • Small Group & Socratic Seminar Post-It note Printables for student-led guided conversation
  • Specific Directions & an Exam!

So tell me…will you be doing novel studies with your students this year?

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