Book Reviews (a practice in brevity)

Daily Prompt #5: Inspiration

Write about what inspires you. Be as specific as you can, writing in either list or paragraph form.

Take five minutes.



Writing Goals

Before we start talking about writing goals, let’s talk about what you’re already good at as a writer. In your notebook, write down 1-3 aspects of writing you feel you have strength in. We’ll brainstorm some ideas now to get you thinking.

Okay, now let’s talk about what want to improve upon: your writing goals for the semester. What are they? Why have them? How can you create useful ones?

Once you come up with them, write down your goals on the inside of your notebook cover, and be prepared to share one.

Keeping with our theme of the importance of reading this week, particularly reading like a writer, we are going to write book reviews. We are also going to practice the art of brevity because they have to be short – 100 words or less!

First, let’s talk about what makes a well-written review and what makes a poorly written review.

Now let’s practice together. Read the longer review I provide, then in groups, find a way to cut it down to 100 words (or less!). Write the review on white boards. We will share with the class.


Now, write your own. Once we get our blogs up and running, this book review will become your first blog post, so make sure to write it in your notebook so you don’t lose it!  I also recommend getting a GoodReads account and posting book reviews on there. It’s a great social networking site for readers!






Writing a Book Review: Day Four

DP #56: Scavenger Hunt

You’re involved in a scavenger hunt—boys versus girls—and you take off to help your team collect every item on the list. The first several items are relatively easy but the last item is very unusual. But, upon reading the last item, you know exactly where to find it. The only problem is that it isn’t going to be easy to retrieve it. Write this scene.

Writer’s Digest Prompt

Today, you’re going to use the rubric on Google Classroom to edit each other’s reviews. We’ll get in small groups and pass them around so you can read and provide feedback on as many as possible. You should get your review back with lots of helpful advice from your peers!

Writing a Book Review: Day Three

DP #55: Lifting a Line

Select a random line from your notebook and make it the first line of a new piece.

Write for ten minutes.

It’s time to continue working on book reviews.

Today, we’re going to look at revision guidelines.

Use the remainder of the hour to write and revise your reviews.

Tomorrow, you need to come to class with a polished rough draft, typed or neatly handwritten.

Happy Writing!

Writing a Book Review: Day Two

DP #54: Student-created prompts

An elephant, a superhero, a bubble, and the color periwinkle.

Create whatever comes to mind!

Write for ten minutes.

It’s time to continue working on book reviews.

Today, we’re going to look at writing challenges.  Use these as a guide if you “get stuck” when writing your review.

Use the remainder of the hour to write a rough draft of your review.

Happy Writing!

Writing a Book Review: Day One

Daily Prompt

WN #25: Story Starter

There’s a note on the windshield of your car. The note says, “I’ve taken your most prized possession. If you want to see it again, in tact, meet me tonight at baseball field around the corner of the local high school. And bring your glove.” What makes this note so curious is that you’ve never played baseball, though you take no chances because your most prized possession is extremely valuable to you. Write this scene.

(from Reader’s Digest writing prompts)

Free write for seven minutes.

This week’s focus is on how to write a book review.  You will all be writing one and posting it on your blogs this Friday.

To get a sense of what a short, but well-written book review should look like, you’ll be reading the following three by former students:

The Book Thief: a real steal

Extremely Sad and Incredibly Beautiful

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Let’s discuss and generate a list of what these book reviews have in common, including what they don’t have.

Here’s a link that will take you to all of the student book reviews. Keep in mind some are more well-written than others.

Here’s a book review written by a professional reviewer.  You can actually do this for a living!

A New York Times Book Review

Let’s review some book review writing tips.

With the time remaining, start crafting your review by responding to the questions in the writing tips.

Tomorrow, we will discuss some writing challenges and spend some focused time writing rough drafts.