Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Meet the Press

Mary Borges
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students create and present oral book report scripts for a mock “Meet the Press” interview between a character in a novel or biography they have been assigned to read and a television reporter.


The student drafts and revises writing that: is focused, purposeful, and reflects insight into the writing situation; has an organizational pattern that provides for a logical progression of ideas; has effective use of transitional devices that contribute to a sense of completeness; has support that is substantial, specific, relevant, and concrete; demonstrates a commitment to and involvement with the subject; uses creative writing strategies as appropriate to the purpose of the paper; demonstrates a mature command of language with precision of expression; has varied sentence structure; and has few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, punctuation, and spelling.

The student uses volume, stress, pacing, enunciation, eye contact, and gestures that meet the needs of the audience and topic.

The student selects and uses a variety of speaking strategies to clarify meaning and to reflect understanding, interpretation, application, and evaluation of content, processes, or experiences, including asking relevant questions when necessary, making appropriate and meaningful comments, and making insightful observations.

The student applies oral communication skills to interviews, group presentations, formal presentations, and impromptu situations.

The student understands the relationships between and among elements of literature, including characters, plot, setting, tone, point of view, and theme.


-List of novels or biographies from which you want students to select their reading
-Novels or biographies on the reading list sufficient in number that each student in the class has a book that is different than those of his/her classmates
-Handout with directions for the product and its presentation
(see attached file)
-Rubric score sheets for evaluating each student’s work(see attached file)
-Writing utensils, paper, or computers/printer for writing “scripts” in class (optional)


(1) Prepare a list of novels or biographies from which the students may select and make one copy for each student.
(2) Make one instruction handout and score sheet for each student.
(3) Establish your deadlines and what will be done in and out of class by students.
(4) Identify where student practices can be held. If no large room is available, then you must use your classroom.


Before beginning this project, (1) Discuss the nature of interviews and ask the class to tell what they have observed reporters doing on television news shows including in their on-camera interviews. (2) Since the students will work from scripts they will write themselves, be sure all students understand the format you wish them to use in writing a basic question-and-answer script. (3) Decide how long you want this project to last, how much time in class will be devoted to it, and what part of the assignment must be done out of class. Also, (4) be sure to discuss the details of this particular assignment with the class before assigning the novels or biographies so that the students will be mindful as they read to look for possible topics to include in their scripts.

(1) Distribute an instruction handout to each student. (See attached file.) After the students have had time to ask questions, distribute your list of acceptable books and provide them an opportunity to check out or purchase the appropriate books. Tell them that only one person per title will be permitted, so once they have selected their books, they need to register themselves for those books (which they have in hand) to reserve particular titles. Give them the option of changing books during the first three days. Determine how long they will be allowed for reading their books and writing their scripts and make this clear to the class. Point out to them that they should read for main idea, details, and the point of view the writer chose to use versus telling the story through another character's point of view. They should also consider how a character in this time period would respond to the story situation and subsequent interview, not using the viewpoint of someone today. Deadlines for recruiting a classmate as their “reporter,” rough draft/rehearsal, final rehearsal, oral presentation and script submission must be announced and noted by the class on the instruction handout.

(2) Allow students about 30 minutes twice in the few days before their final deadline to practice with their “reporters” in a spacious area. The cafeteria, gym, and auditorium (if unoccupied by other students) are good locations so that students may spread out.

(3) Oral presentations are usually given over two class periods for a normal size class. You will score their oral presentations for both content and quality of speaking while they are given (and complete the scoring later for their written work). Students who serve as “reporters” may earn extra credit, and students who portray their characters in costume may earn extra credit. No student may be a reporter for more than two classmates. (See attached file for rubric score sheet.)


The 'Meet the Press' activity is assessed using a rubric score sheet. (See attached file.) The scored areas are Oral Presentation and Script. The Oral Presentation is assessed for speech clarity, volume, poise/public presentation, willingness, conduct, and convincing. The Written Script will be assessed for following directions, appearance, grammar/compositional skills, content, and value as a book report.


This form of oral book report may be used in both middle and high school classes with students of all levels. Even lower functioning students feel less “threatened” by writing and presenting this type of written/oral book report. If biographies or historical fiction only are selected for the reading list, this lesson will work in both social studies and language arts classes, or as an interdisciplinary activity. Also, if you feel that the students should read their books first and then get the instructions for writing and presenting, you may adjust the sequence for the lesson background and activity.
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