English Language Arts

6 Tips for Using One-Pager Book Reports

I first heard of one-pager book reports when I was thrust into the world of high school English. I had been an elementary school teacher up until that point. (That is a story for another day.) Not having been in a high school English classroom for around eleven years, I utilized Pinterest and Instagram as my teachers. Yes, Instagram. I quickly “followed”  numerous high school English teachers to see their latest strategies, methodologies, and ideas to help my students to read and love reading.

One idea that I had never seen before that I saw on Instagram was the one-pager book reports. A one-pager is an alternative to a standard book report essay or writing assignment. Once a student is finished reading a book independently, or when the whole class is finished reading an assigned novel, students will complete a one-pager. 

A one-pager is made up of various sections. Sections include summarizing a novel, making connections, and reviewing any ELA standards taught while incorporating art. It is meant to be creative, and it contains pictures and quotes, and allows students’ imaginations to guide them through. Some sections that are present in a one-pager are characterization, setting, theme, important quotes, or pictures that symbolize various characters. The beauty of a one-pager is that the sections can vary based on teacher or student needs. 

My high school and middle schools students have tackled many one-pagers over the years. I feel like I have finally figured out the best way to approach them. Here are my tips. 

Tip 1: Keep It Simple

Keep it simple. When I first assigned a one-pager, it blew up in my face to be honest. I had bought one on Teachers Pay Teachers. It came with a plethora of requirements and ideas, prewriting pages, and templates. I followed the lessons step by step, but my students ended up confused and irritated. At the end, we all wanted to throw away those one-pagers. 

The next year, I realized that I needed to make sure to keep it simple. I threw away the prewriting pages and cut the list of requirements in half. I gave students two templates instead of several and then gave them the flexibility to go from there. It went so much smoother. When tackling one-pagers, make sure the requirements are less than more, offer clear-cut requirements, and try not to confuse students with so much prewriting work, which leads me to Tip 2.

Tip 2: Focus on Concepts

I realized that the prewriting work of researching quotes and answering a bunch of questions before making a one-pager is not necessary. If your novel unit has been taught solidly, students are already well-prepared ahead of time to complete their one-pager. 

Depending on what the requirements are, it is better to use the time to complete mini-lessons to review the concepts of the one-pager requirements. For instance, if the one-pager you assign has a couple of sections on indirect and direct characterization, it is a good idea to spend time reteaching that concept. 

If you are having students complete a one-pager to culminate an independent book project, students can answer questions based on the sections/requirements of the one-pager while they read their book. For instance, if a requirement is for students to draw the setting or find a picture representing the setting and include one quote to demonstrate the setting, have students do that  in a graphic organizer while they read their novel. 

Tip 3: Show Examples

Show examples! There are a plethora of one-pager examples online. Just do a quick google search. I also show students various one-pager examples from my own students over the years for them to get an idea. 

I have used different one-pager requirements depending on the novels I have taught. Some contain different sections than others. I first show students a ton of different examples so they can see the imagination, creation, and aesthetic appeal I want them to utilize and achieve. Then, I show them an example of a specific one-pager that they will be required to complete. Sometimes, I complete one myself so students can see the goal they are achieving. 

Here is an example of when my middle schoolers completed a one-pager report after reading Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. 

Tip 4: Provide Templates

Provide templates. Some students are ready to tackle this idea, but there is one thing holds them up. That is where to place each section on a report. I like to provide templates specific to their required one-pager in order for them to visually have a place for each requirement. It is super simple to do this. You can divide a piece of paper into the number of requirements by either drawing or creating boxes on Google Slides or Docs. 

Some students will choose not to use a template, but the important part is that a template is there in order not to have students hung up on the placement of sections. 

Tip 5: Let Them Be Creative

Allow space for them to be creative. Next, go over the requirements thoroughly, ensuring students understand each section by either reviewing or reteaching concepts through mini-lessons. Then, allow students to have the time to work on it. Students can listen to their own music in-class or you can play Starbucks music on YouTube. However, give your students the space to create and use their imaginations. A one-pager is a way for them to connect to their reading on a deeper, personal level. By using art to do this, they are connecting both parts of their brain to achieve this. 

Allan Paivio’s dual coding theory states that the brain processes things two ways: visually and verbally. When combining language with art, students remember things more and create a more powerful connection to their reading.

By completing a one-pager in class, students can readily ask you questions as well.

Tip 6: Display Work

6 Tips for Using One-Pager Book Reports

Display or present one-pagers. I find that students love to see the finished products of their classmates. It is so interesting to see how each individual student takes their own approach to the same requirements and how each student presents the information differently. Oftentimes I have students present their one-pager to the class, and then I will display them for a while. It also helps inspire them for when they may complete another one-pager.

Want More?

Grab our newest product today! These simple-to-use and easy-to-follow one-pagers are perfect for upper elementary to even high school students. The templates are for fiction or non-fiction books. Also, the templates are very specific and act as a map for the student.

Click here for more information and grab yours today!
  • Each template comes with a very detailed EDITABLE rubric to help guide the students along as well.
  • Finally, this includes an EDITABLE sign and bulletin board border for a bulletin board display to show off those amazing one-pagers.
  • With the fiction one-pager, you will be able to accurately assess your students on theme, symbolism, setting, and character traits among other items.
  • With the non-fiction one-pager, you will be able to accurately assess your students on non-fiction text features, setting, key information, and facts among other items.
  • These one-pagers will allow your students to use originality and creativity to demonstrate their understanding of a book.


If you have not yet used one-pagers in the ELA classroom, I encourage you to explore them. I am including the very one-pager and template I have used most recently with my middle schoolers. One-pagers empower students to use their creativity and imagination, while thinking outside of the box, to connect to their reading.

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