students playing literature review game in groups

8 Literature Review Games for Students

Diving into literature doesn’t have to be a snooze fest! With the right classroom review games, you can turn those yawns into ‘Yays!’ and make learning literary concepts a blast. This article is your go-to guide for teachers searching for fun, interactive ways to jazz up literature reviews in the classroom. From charades that get students acting out book characters to thrilling plot puzzles they’ll race to solve, we’ve got all the games you need to make literature lively and memorable. Get ready to bring some serious fun to your literature lessons!

Fun and Low-prep Literature Review Games to Play With Students

1. Story Elements Charades

  • Grade: 3-5
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes


  1. Prepare slips of paper with different story elements (characters, settings, plot points) from a book or story your class has recently read.
  2. Divide your class into small groups.
  3. One student from each group comes up and draws a slip of paper, then acts out the story element without speaking.
  4. The group has to guess the element within a set time limit.
  5. Rotate players until everyone has had a turn or until all slips are used.

This game encourages students to recall and distinguish between various elements of the stories they’ve read, fostering comprehension and interpretive skills.

2. Plot Puzzle Race

  • Grade: 6-8
  • Time: 30-40 minutes
  • Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes


  1. Write key plot points from a mystery novel or story on individual pieces of cardstock or paper, then cut them into puzzle pieces.
  2. Create enough sets for each group in your class.
  3. Groups race to assemble their puzzles in the correct narrative order.
  4. The first group to correctly complete their puzzle wins.

This game helps students understand narrative structure and the importance of sequence in storytelling, enhancing their analytical skills.

3. Literary Terms Bingo

  • Grade: 9-10
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes


  1. Create bingo cards with literary terms (e.g., metaphor, alliteration, hyperbole) instead of numbers.
  2. Call out definitions or examples of these terms.
  3. Students mark off the terms on their cards that match the definitions or examples.
  4. The first student to get a line (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) shouts “Bingo!” and wins.

This activity reinforces students’ understanding of literary devices, crucial for both analysis and creative writing.

4. Vocabulary Role-Play

  • Grade: 5-7
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes


  1. Prepare a list of vocabulary words from a recent reading assignment.
  2. Assign each student a word and give them a few minutes to prepare a short role-play or monologue using their word in context.
  3. Students perform their role-plays, and classmates guess the vocabulary word.

This game encourages a deep understanding of new vocabulary and its application, enhancing both linguistic and creative skills.

5. Quotation Quest

  • Grade: 8-12
  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes


  1. Select impactful quotations from a piece of literature your class has studied.
  2. Print each quote on a separate piece of paper and hide them around the classroom or school.
  3. Divide students into teams and give them clues to find the quotations.
  4. Once a team finds a quote, they must identify its source (character, situation, chapter) and discuss its significance.
  5. The team that finds and correctly identifies the most quotations wins.

Quotation Quest encourages students to recall specific details from their readings and consider the context and significance of key passages.

6. Character Debate

  • Grade: 9-12
  • Time: 45-60 minutes
  • Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes


  1. Assign students characters from a book or play they have read.
  2. Pose a series of moral or thematic questions related to the text.
  3. Students debate these questions in character, using evidence from the text to support their arguments.
  4. The class can vote on the most convincing arguments or the teacher can facilitate a discussion to explore different perspectives.

This game not only reinforces comprehension but also encourages critical thinking, empathy, and the ability to argue a point of view using textual evidence.

7. Flash Fiction Remix

  • Grade: 6-9
  • Time: 30-40 minutes
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes


  1. Write down key elements (characters, settings, conflicts) from a story your class has covered on individual slips of paper.
  2. Students draw one of each type of slip at random and then have a set time to write a short “remix” story that includes those elements.
  3. Share and discuss the remixes as a class, highlighting creativity and understanding of the story elements.

This creative exercise allows students to engage with the building blocks of narrative in a hands-on way, fostering both comprehension and creativity.

8. Literature Circle Trivia

  • Grade: 4-8
  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes


  1. After completing a book, create trivia questions covering themes, characters, plot, and settings.
  2. Divide the class into teams and conduct a trivia competition.
  3. Teams earn points for each correct answer, with bonus points for particularly challenging questions.

This game is an excellent way to review a book’s key points in an engaging, competitive format, ensuring that students recall and understand the material.

Incorporating games into literature review not only makes learning more enjoyable but also enhances retention, comprehension, and critical thinking. Each of these games can be adapted to fit various texts, themes, and learning objectives, providing a versatile toolkit for any literature teacher.

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