I don't want any nasty hate mail or comments after I share this idea. This idea involves...hurting...cutting...even ripping books. Eeeks! You may be cringing right now. Did you read that right?
Absolutely! Here is the idea. There are kids out there that big books like Harry Potter terrify them. They want to read it, but the shear size of it? Way too big. You may have tried coaching them through telling them to take it slow.
I want you to consider ripping a book into chunks for that student. Pick however many chapters you think the student could handle and rip them apart. Keep the chunks in a ziplock bag and label them. Students take a chunk home, read it, then bring it back to you. Then you can discuss what happened in the chapters they read, check for understanding, and see if they can predict what will happen next.
This idea also works for teaching students to communicate and collaborate. Take a smaller chapter book, like Maniac Magee and rip it into equal parts and then give different parts of the book to a group of students. Their assignment is to take the book home, read it, and come back the next day prepared to share their portion of the book. They could outline what happend, noting who the characters were and the setting.
The group would then try to put the pieces together. This involves hearing others in the group and collaborating.
Getting the books ripped can be a little tricky. Arm yourself with a pair of scissors and bend back the spine. Select the chapters and then use the scissors to start cutting into the binding. From there you can either rip it or cut down the spine. Try to find books at garage sales or thrift stores to lessen the sickening feeling of cutting a book up. It sure made me feel better.
Alright, don't be mad that I suggested ripping up books! It really could change the way a student looks at those giant books now. By the way, I really love Maniac Magee-it was strange to rip the book up, but worth while.