I started reading book reviews out of my People magazine and online to help narrow down my choices.
This plan will not only teach students how to write their own book reviews, but will open their eyes to the usefulness of published book reviews in their literary selections. I started reading book reviews out of my People magazine and online to help narrow down my choices. Book reviews are a useful resource for reading fans, but can also be an alternative assessment tool for teachers.
Before students can write a book review, you must introduce them to professionally written pieces. Take them to the computer lab and go to sites that have notable book reviews, like the New York Times or Barnes and Noble Review.
If you do not have access to the internet, you can always clip reviews from magazines, like People or from the newspaper. Read several reviews as a class and discuss the format reviewers use when writing about a book.
Be sure to point out that reviews provide a general summary, name major characters, introduce the major conflicts in the story, and give either a positive, negative, or neutral opinion of the work.
Good reviews will never reveal the resolution to the conflict, so encourage them to avoid giving away the ending! I also use this time discuss how reviewing books, movies, and other media can easily turn into a profession.
Students are in awe at the many different types of reviewers that are in our mainstream media today.
There are reviewers for video games, phone apps, computer software, as well as the typical book and movie reviewers. As a class we discuss how much fun a career in reviewing could bring to someone who has an avid interest in the subject matter they are critiquing.
Tying a real-world application to the assignment helps middle school kids to see the answer to the eternal adolescent question, "Why do I need to know this" that every teacher seems to encounter on a daily if not on a daily basis!
I usually like students to implement the "Plot Pyramid" structure that they learn early on in the year, which follows the five steps of plot organization: Of course, I have them leave off resolution, so the ending to the novel is not revealed to the reader. This ends up being a four paragraph structure minus the resolutionand then I have them add an "opinion paragraph" at the end of their plot assessment to make the structure a five-paragraph essay form.
If you have advanced students, or if you think your students are ready, you can also require quote integration into the article. You will also be able to pick up on who actually read the book, and who is "writing blind", based on the relevance of their quotes.
At the end of the article, students can also rank the book on a four star system one star being a horrible book and four stars being an awesome book.
Students can draw the stars and color them in, or you can use clip art in Microsoft WordDesigned to make the writing process logical and easy to learn, our lesson provides opportunities for students to complete the prewriting, drafting, revising, and proofreading processes of writing a book report.
In this lesson students review the elements of fiction and key components of a book report. They are then given an opportunity to identify and share these concepts by writing and illustrating their own mini-book based on a fiction book they have chosen to read.
Distribute the lesson How to Write a Book Report and ask a student volunteer to read the first section, 'Book Reports,' aloud. Define what a book report is and allow students to share their prior experiences writing and reading book reports. The end result of book report alternatives, such as the one explored in this lesson plan, is that the activities "whet the interest of students in exploring new directions and in responding with greater depth to the books they read" (Mitchell 92).
Book reviews are a useful resource for reading fans, but can also be an alternative assessment tool for teachers. Before students can write a book review, you must introduce them to professionally written pieces. Take them to the computer lab and go to sites that have notable book reviews, like the New York Times or Barnes and Noble Review.
Get ideas for teaching your class how to write a basic book report by teaching them to recognize different genres of literature, characters, setting and more. Lesson includes two downloadable sample book-report templates.