Skip to main content

Book Review as Reading Response: SOL 4


Write. Share. Give. Join the March Slice of Life Story Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers
                                          ______________________________


I've been learning so much about myself as I write book reviews. I've developed a format for thinking about reading and sharing that thinking with other readers who might be interested in the same book. The more I write about books and my connections to them, the more I want to learn more about writing book reviews. Readers have also been intrigued by my new writing form. It feels like the reader brings more to the meaning making process and then extends that learning.

Here's how it works
I begin each book review with a story about me. A slice of life about how I came to read the book or how I changed as I read the book. After that I move on to a summary, but not a blow-by-blow one. Instead I offer the reader a glimpse into the book and the style of its author. If readers really want to learn more about the book, they should read it. The author shares the writing and story better than any reviewer can. Finally, I locate something in the book worthy of more attention. I do a quick bit of research and then write a paragraph about how this theme/message or fact makes a difference in our world.

One of my students read this review I wrote about The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell, and turned right around to write this amazing review of Small Steps by Peg Kehret.

This review experience has been a great way for kids to combine slice of life writing with research, outside connections, opinion writing, and summarizing. It's a win-win-win-win-win kind of a situation.

Please feel free to use my examples in your own class for mentor texts. Also here's a copy of the book review directions I made up!
                                       ______________________________
Book Review Guidelines
Write a book review that has three paragraphs.
#1
Tell a personal story that somehow connects you to the story read. Use the pronoun “I” as you write so that we know it is about you and how you think.
  • Where were you when you read it?
  • Did you choose it because it meant something to you?
  • How did you change as a result of reading the book?
#2
Write a summary of the book, but don’t tell use EVERYTHING that happened. Just tell us the basic plot and get us wanting to read more. “You won’t believe what happens next!”
#3
You might need to do a quick bit of research for this part. How does something that happened in the book or the theme/message of the book connect to the way the world works?
For example: After reading Roald Dahl’s Matilda, you might find out that in some schools children are allowed to be hit by their teachers. Is this true anywhere in the U.S.? Do you think it is okay to hit students? Find 2-3 interesting facts to share with your readers in the third paragraph

Comments

  1. Loving this approach to a book review; so much more interesting than the usual annotation, which gives me fits because it means constantly revising to avoid spoilers. Thank you for giving us permission to share; I will certainly do so with my teachers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for providing such a great way to respond to a book. I am going to copy the directions, too. This is something I often forget to provide. I speak out loud and assume they get it. Written directions are much more effective. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am loving this format. It helps children and adults think about how to structure writing AND think about a book. The beauty of threes! The beauty of your thinking!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We experimented with this format today, Kimberley, thanks to you...and I have to say that I'm loving this format. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Find Their Gifts

When I work with gifted kids, I'm amazed by their lack of understanding about what interests them. They know how to surf the net exhaustively for Youtube videos that make them laugh, but not what skills and practices further their interests.

Developing interests and passions is critical to these students. Many people out there tell me that this is not just for gifted kids, that their average developing child needs to know how to do this too. While of course I agree that this is true, I also think that typical academic, fine arts, and sports programs are available in most communities are enough to engage and motivate most kids. Not true of gifted children who become jaded, disinterested, and shut down quickly when a program doesn't meet their needs.
Most people think of gifted students as being prodigies who know exactly where their gifts lie. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I often question if some children who are identified as gifted will ever find thei…

Moo by Sharon Creech

I moved to Maine in 1982. I was a thirteen year old freshman in high school fresh out of a childhood in New York City. It sounds more exotic than it really was. The Maine I moved into wasn't so rustic. The town, Cape Elizabeth, is quite upwardly mobile––think Boston suburb. I remember distinctly the day my friends told me we were headed to the Fryeburg Fair. I had been to a few Maine county fairs over the summers I spent Downeast on the coast of Maine, so I knew what to expect. The 4H clubs mesmerized me. These kids who took such control of large livestock were amazing. They knew what they were doing. They were all pig whisperers and lamb crooners. These animals I knew nothing about in the real world were kept clean, safe and show-worthy by kids who looked to be no more than nine or ten years old. At sixteen or so, I felt too old to learn how but man did I want to join that club.
Wordsmith Sharon Creech has come out with the new middle grade novel, Moo. It is kind of a verse nove…

Writing Short, Day 1

I've taken a new position. I'm now an editor and writer at a company called We Are Teachers. I do some article writing for them, but I also write very short pieces designed for emails or giveaways. I didn't think I'd like this kind of work, but I do! It brings me back to the importance of knowing how to write short. I've talked about this before, but here's the book I'm referencing:
And thank you, Roy Peter Clark, for soothing my guilt about writing specifically for the Tweet. In “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times,” this amazing writer praises Twitter’s 140-character limit as a tool for “intelligent cutting.”
So, as a way to get better at my new craft, I'm re-reading his book and actually doing the activities at the end of each chapter. The first: Practice writing plain sentences that contain a grace note, one interesting word that stands out. ___________________________________________
As did Proteus, I move forward into change. I figure, I …