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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

Book Bento


Tech Product/Equipment:
Computer and projector, cell phone camera or digital camera

Activity Description

 geometric bento box
Source: Freepik by Freepik (License: CC0/Public Domain)
In this activity, an update on the traditional book report, students exercise visual literacy to summarize and reflect on their reading by arranging images that represent characters, places, events in the plot of a book or chapter or story read in class in the form of a Bento box (Japanese lunch box), take a photo, and make a presentation.


  1. Check the website to ensure it is not blocked at your site.
  2. Read through the lesson plan.
  3. Print and make copies of any handouts.


Make a sample Bento book or chapter image to share with students to help explain the assignment and set expectations.


Sample Book Bento

Teacher Tips

This is a great low-tech project in which students lacking skills can learn to attach photos / files in email. 

More Ways

Students can make a Bento arrangement and photograph it for icebreakers in which they introduce themselves to the class. 


Bento Introduction

Program Areas

  • ABE: Adult Basic Education
  • ESL: English as a Second Language


  • Low
  • Intermediate
  • High
  • All Levels
  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced

Lesson Plan


After reading a text (book, chapter, short story, or essay) and have had students answer comprehension questions and discuss, return to the main themes, characters, plot, message. 


Tell students that they will create a book (or chapter or other) report using images to represent the events, people messages of what they read.

Engagement Enhancement

  1. Selecting a different reading or one chapter of a book, for example, model for students how to select objects that represent or symbolize the text using a table or mind map.


  • Characters (list):
  • Objects to represent each character (list):
  • Places (list):
  • Objects to symbolize each place (list):
  • Major events (list):
  • Objects for events (list):
  • Message:
  • Object(s) that will represent this message:

  2. Explain what a Bento box is, showing a picture, and help students understand that their arrangement of objects for the report will be in a similar fashion.

  3. As a class or in small groups, bring to class and arrange actual objects into a Bento Box-like arrangement. Take photos of the work.

  4. Together as a class, construct the script for the presentation, discussing word choices and grammar issues that come up.


Engagement Enhancement
  1. Assign students or allow them to select a chapter, book, essay, or part of a book or story.  Optionally, have students work in pairs or small groups.
  2. Have them list and submit a brainstorm of ideas for objects representing the people, places, events, and message of the text. They can submit this on a Word or Google Doc file for your feedback. 
  3. On their own time or in class, help students with the arrangement of objects. For students lacking tech know-how, help with photos and sending the photos to you (by email or other means).
  4. Have students script out their presentation, as desired, and practice. Provide feedback on content and mechanics as needed. Emphasize that the script (or notes) will not be read but are meant to help students organize their thoughts for their presentation.

Compile the photos of students' Bento book report photos into a folder or on a slideshow. As students give their presentations, use a rubric, checklist, peer review checklist, or self-evaluation form for student feedback and reflection.

If you have access to a printer, students' work can be printed out and displayed.


Through the selection of objects that respresent elements of a text and using visual literacy and design, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to determine central ideas or themes in written texts, analyze the development of the themes/ideas, and summarize a text in an oral presentation.



  • Reading
    • Critical Thinking/Decision Making
    • Vocabulary
  • Writing
    • Basic Sentences
    • Report Writing


  • Reading Foundational Skills
    • RF.4 - Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. (Fluency)
  • Reading
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
    • CCR Anchor 6 - Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
    • CCR Anchor 10 - Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
  • Speaking and Listening
    • CCR Anchor 4 - Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
    • CCR Anchor 5 - Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
    • CCR Anchor 6 - Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
  • Language
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Reading, Speaking, book report, cell phone camera, digital camera, presentation, speaking, reading, Bento book project


cell phone camera, digital camera
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.