Tasks based on books covers

Tasks based on books covers

Children are reading less. “Clip culture” thinking of contemporary generation demands short chunks of information. How to evoke love to reading? Books seem too long and boring. Parents can do it easily by own example. Teachers have fewer opportunities. As we know many people nowadays choose books according to reviews and the images on book covers.

Try some tasks based on books covers from this article to attract children’s attention to books.

What does a book cover consist of?

  1. Author
  2. Title
  3. Illustration or photo – a picture designed especially for this edition.
  4. Subtitle or tagline – the additional part, used to specify the title.
  5. Book summary – retelling aimed to capture and make us read the book.
  6. Endorsement – sayings of famous people about the book.
  7. Barcode and price
  8. Spine

Teachers use 1-6 for creating original tasks:

  1. Vocabulary “extraordinary flashcards”

In fact, talking about front covers we think about pictures. Thus, all activities with flashcards perfectly match the images on the book covers.

  • matching (with the names of books, genres)
  • grouping (according to the genres, authors, colours)
  • guessing (the missing part/object)
  1. Speaking “out of the box”

Book covers can serve as the source of topics for speaking. Let the students:

  • speculate on the artistic value of the cover design,
  • guess the plot of a book, looking at the front cover,
  • prove the relevance/irrelevance of the summary to the content of the book,
  • analyze the endorsements
  1. Reading “with critical thinking”

Book covers contain short texts: a summary, endorsements, a tagline – suitable material to develop scanning and skimming skills. Tasks include:

  • reading and matching (summaries, titles, taglines),
  • quick reading to fill in a table (names of characters, authors, places),
  • reading to find mistakes,
  • reading and answering the questions of other students.
  1. Writing “new professions”

Schoolchildren say they lack the ideas for creative writing. Introduce role-play activities. Roles will help to relax and switch on creativity:

  • a correspondent – interview classmates about the book and write a book review,
  • a designer – plan and create own book cover, the site – Canva contains templates for designing,
  • a writer – taking into account a suggested book cover write the first chapter/the last chapter of a book.


The best type of tasks based on books covers – a project. Divide students into groups so they pick up tasks according to their abilities. Set the rule that everyone has to contribute to cooperative work. Follow the stages of a project:

  1. Choosing the book/story. It’s better to find a book children want to advise reading to the others.
  2. Discussing necessary parts.
  3. Defining deadlines, stages, ways of collaborating in the group.
  4. Analyzing the templates and examples from the Internet/library. Making a poll on classmates’ preferences.
  5. Creating the parts of a book cover. Gathering them together and correcting if necessary.
  6. Presenting the project. The great idea is to use designed book covers for further discussion or put them in the school library.
  7. Assessing the work.

If you bring real books they should be new and bright as children got used to colourful images in cartoons and games. Use electronic presentations and printed worksheets to expand the choice of book covers. Big variety of front covers are here and here.

The example of a task based on book covers is here.

Instil interest and love for reading in your pupils. It makes people happier and improves our knowledge of English!

Олеся Щербакова

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