Stock Exploration Activities

Introduction (10 mins):

Present the children with examples of different book formats: adult fiction, children’s fiction, picture books, audio books, informational texts etc.

Key Questions:

  • What is different/ similar about these different books? (Blurb, cover illustration etc.)
  • Which would you like to read? Why?
  • What is the first thing that you notice about each book?
  • What would make you interested in picking up one of these books?
  • What is different between an adult novel and a children’s novel? Why do you think that is?

Name and explain the components of a book: spine, title, author, cover illustration, blurb, text size/font etc.
Use concrete examples that the children can explore hands on.


Never judge a book by its cover

Approximate time: 25-30 mins

Age appropriateness: Can be adapted for all ages.

Materials required:
Pictures of book covers/ actual books with the title covered where the cover illustration has no relation to the title of the novel
The corresponding book titles on strips of paper
Paper and pencils

Groups: 4-6 children

Give each group an envelope containing the cover illustrations and titles. Explain that they need to place what they think is the right title with the matching covering illustration.

The facilitator should walk around the groups and initiate discussions using key questions such as: Why did you think that this picture matched this title? Are there any clues in the title or illustration to help with the matching? Does everybody in the group agree on the matches?

The different groups feed back to the whole class.
Compare/ contrast - did any groups match the same titles and covers?
Did groups choose entirely different matches?
Reveal the actual matches.
Discussion - can you judge a book by its cover?

Older children/ early finishers can write a blurb to describe what they think the story might be about based on the cover illustration and title that they have chosen to match it with.


Book components quiz

Approximate time: 25 mins

Age Appropriateness: All ages

Materials required: Flashcards with the different terms; spine, blurb etc. and/or with the definitions of the terms for each group

Groupings: Children are arranged into groups of six

Introduction: The groups of six are split in half so there are two groups of three in each group. The facilitator should demonstrate the game with the whole group. They will choose a flashcard and describe the term in their own words. The children have to shout out the answer, ‘That’s the blurb!’

Development: In their groups the two teams will take turns describing the terms to the other. Each time the teams shout out the correct answer they get a point.

Conclusion: Groups share their scores with the whole class.

Older children: Flashcards with just the term
Younger children: Flashcards with the term and a definition/ picture.
Early finishers can shuffle the flashcards and start again, this time pointing to the book component instead of describing it.


Design your own Front Cover

Approximate time: 35 mins

Age Appropriateness: All ages

Materials required:
A4 paper
Pencils and colours
Book titles

Introduction: The children are shown examples of book covers.
Key questions to ask:
What is included on the front cover?
Where is the title placed?
Is the title big or small font?
Where is the author’s name?
Is the illustration colourful?
Why do you think the illustrator chose that picture?
Would you draw a different picture?

Development: The children are given different examples of book titles and authors' names and asked to design their own front covers to match the title.

Conclusion: The children present their front covers to the whole group.
The facilitator asks the children to compare the illustrations of the children who had the same title. (Refer to contract about behaviour in the library: ensure to emphasise that they should only say something that they wouldn’t mind somebody saying about their own work).
Questions such as: did they draw the same thing or did they have very different ideas? Finished covers could be displayed and shown to parents.

Differentiation: Early finishers could write an example blurb. Older children must be able to explain why they picked that illustration.


Finishing up activity in stock exploration

Ask children spot check questions about what they have learned during the activities.

For example:

  • What is a graphic novel?
  • What is a blurb?
  • Where would you find the author’s name?
  • What does fiction mean?
  • Can you remember where the children’s section is?


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