Beacon Lesson Plan Library

You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover

Kimberly Marlow


As an introduction to teaching a new novel, students make predictions about the novel's story line. Students then form groups of three to come to a consensus prediction about the novel which is presented to the class.


The student predicts ideas or events that may take place in the text, gives rationale for predictions, and confirms and discusses predictions as the story progresses.


-Magazine or newspaper with a seemingly boring cover
-A copy of the same novel for each student
-Graphic organizer, one per student (See Associated File)
-Pen or pencil for each student
-Overhead projector or chart paper


1. Find a magazine or newspaper that at first glance seems to lack any content that would be of interest to your students.
2. Gather a class set of novels.
3. Make class copies of the graphic organizer. (See Associated File)
4. Make sure every student has a pen or pencil.
5. Secure overhead projector or chart paper to use during class discussion.


Note: The activity addresses only the prediction and rationale portions of the benchmark.
Prerequisites: Teacher has taught students how to work in groups and how to come to a consensus.

1. Hold up a copy of [Time Magazine for Kids] or another magazine or newspaper that does not look interesting based on the cover.

2. Ask the students, “Thumbs up if there is anything inside this magazine (or newspaper) that you want to read.”

3. Now, read to the students an interesting item from inside the magazine or newspaper.

4. Explain to the students that closely examining the cover of printed material can provide clues to what is inside the material.

5. Pass out a copy of the graphic organizer (See Associated File) to each student.

6. Next, pass out a copy of the novel to be introduced.

7. Direct the students to only look at the front cover of the novel. Use the front cover to find information to fill in the four quadrants (who, what, when, where) of the graphic organizer.

8. After the students have completed the four quadrants, make a big group list from the students’ graphic organizers on the overhead or chart paper.

9. Next, put the students in groups of three and instruct them to determine by consensus what the book is about.

10. Have one person from each group present the group consensus to the class.

11. Next, have the groups read the back cover of the book. Ask each group to discuss whether or not their group consensus matches the back cover of the book. Ask each group if it matters if their group consensus matches the back cover of the book. Could their consensus still be valid?

12. Assess the groups' activity. (See Assessments)


Formative assessment is used in the following ways: The student completes the prediction using the four quadrants on his/her paper. An incomplete paper results in an informal teacher conference with the student. Teacher observation is used as students participate in groups. Group presentation determines whether or not each group reaches a consensus.


1. For ESE and/or ESOL/ESL students, students should be put in groups with proficient English speakers.
2. As an extension to this activity, the students might read the novel in class and discuss whether or not their predictions are valid.

Attached Files

This file contains the graphic organizer.     File Extension: pdf

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