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I agree! That is very time consuming and really changes the defintion of "independent reading" for me. Many of my book reports are more involved because I only do one each six weeks.
Maybe you could make flip-flap books. Fold a piece of light colored construction paper in half "hotdog" style (longways). On one side, have them cut four or five equal slits up to the crease. On each flap, write one story element
Ex. 1. title and author
1. title and author
Then under each flap they write the answer to each. When you want to check for understanding, just flip up a flap and read their response.
Very simple and doesn't take up much time but very effective. Hope this helps! Good luck!!
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