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Reflecting on reading
Book reviews help us to reflect on what we read and to consider whether we would recommend the book to others. It's like creating an advertisement for the book. Best book reviews contain information about
  • Bibliography
    • title
    • author and illustrator
    • publisher, date and place of publication
    • ISBN number
    • format
    • series and genre
  • Appeal to the intended audience
    • Does the choice of topic suit the intended audience?
    • Is it likely to be something they are interested in?
  • Format
    • Is the typography (i.e. format, font, print size, spacing, novelty features etc) appropriate?
    • Is it integral to the story or intrusive?
    • Is it easy to read?
    • Does the alyout draw the reader in or is it distracting?
    • Are the shape and size of the book appropriate?
    • What use is made of covers, end-papers and the title page?
    • Are there any special features such as cutouts or pop-ups?
    • How do these special features contribute to the story?
  • Plot
    • Are you hooked from the very beginning?
    • Can you feel the atmosphere the author is trying to create?
    • Is the plot plausible and easy to follow?
    • Does the story build to a climax?
    • Are you waiting for the climax?
    • Is there a satisfying ending?
    • Are you 'in' the story as an observer of everything?
    • If it is one of a series, do you have to read the earlier stories to understand what is going on?
    • If it is a particular genre, does it fit with what you expect of that genre?
    • Is it hard to put the book down?
    • Is it worth getting into trouble for reading it under the covers with a torck afters lights-out?
  • Characters
    • Are the characters credible?
    • Can you envisage them?
    • Do they have a real personality and seem like real people?
    • Are they too good/too bad to be true?
    • Can you form a bond with them so you care about hwat happens to them?
    • Are the relationships between them realistic?
    • Are the things they do in keeping with their personalities?
    • Is the dialogue realistic, natural and apporpriate to the character?
    • Can you hear them talking?
    • Do you feel like an eavesdropper on thier conversations?
    • If it is part of a series, are the characters' personalities and actions consistent throughout all the stories?
    • Is there one character you really relate to? Why?
  • Setting
    • Can you seen hear and smell the background setting?
    • Can you imagine yourself in that place?
    • If the story is set in a real place that you know, are the details accurate?
    • Does the setting suit the sorts of things that happen in the story?
    • Do you learn things about the place or time through the setting?
    • Is it an integral part of the story?
  • Purpose
    • Is the purpose of the story only to entertain you?
    • Is there a message the author is trying to convey?
    • Is this subtle or does it intrude on the entertainment?
    • How does the author's bias influence his/her writing?
    • Did you discover the message for yourself or did someone else highlight it for you?
    • What are the main issues raised?
    • Are they appropriate for the intended audience and the format of the book?
    • Why has the author 'disguised' the issues within the context of a story?
    • Does the story leave you with things you want to discuss and questions you want answered?
    • if you could talk to the author, what opinions would you offer about the issues raised? What questions would you have?
  • Illustrations
    • Do the illustrations appeal to you? Why?
    • Do they suit the story?
    • Do they help you understand the story better? How?
    • Can you predict the story by looking at the illustrations?
    • Do they help to build up a sense of atmosphere and anticipation?
    • Do they help you work out unfamiliar words?
    • Are the illustrations more important than the story?
    • Is there a story in the illustrations that is not in the text? What is it and why is it there?
    • Is the medium appropriate?
    • Would the illustratins be as effective in another medium?
    • Is the artist's personal style distinctive and easy to recognise?
    • Does the style work with the subject?
    • Are there any special media or techniques the artist has used?
    • How do they support the storyline?
    • How has the artisit used colour and/or textures to enhance the mood he/she was trying to create?
    • Is there a consistent quality of illustration throughout the book?
    • Would the cover catch your eye if you were browsing in a bookstore?
    • Was this illustrator a good choice to illustrate this book?
  • Readability
    • Is the language appropriate for the audience?
    • Is the languaage rich, original and interesting?
    • Are the words used well to build up the atmosphere and create images in your mind?
    • Is the sentence structure suitable for the audience?
    • Do the language and sentence structure contribute to the atmosphere?
    • Is the style and size of the print easy to read?
    • Does the layout assist the reader?
    • Do you fond yourself enjoying the story but wanting to rewrite the sentences?
    • Are there sub-plots that have nothing to do with the main plot?
    • Is everything well-explained by the end or are you left confused about some parts?
    • Has the author included too much information that has nothing to do with the story, or is there not enough information for it to make sense?
    • Is this a read-aloud, a read-along or a read-alone book?
  • Personal Opinion
    • Is this a book you would like to receive or give as a gift?
    • Is it a book you would psend your pocket money on?
    • Would it be one that you would keep for your children to read?
    • If it is in a series, would you look for others in tht series?
    • Will you now look for other stories by that author or in that genre?
    • Have you been changed by this book? How?
    • Are you glad that you read it?
    • Would you recommend it to other students of your age?
    • On a scale of 1-5, what would you give this book?

**Booklook 1** - for K-2


Booklook 2 - for 3-4

Booklook 3 - for 5-6
Reflecting on reading using various media

Book responses can use a range of formats and tools.

* Kids can turn their family, pets and friends into stars. They can dress and pose them for photos, then capture scenes from the story the way they see them. Use those photos as the basis for a movie-style poster (Big Huge Labs), an advertisement explaining why people should read the book, or a comic (Comic Life). Make a slideshow of your photos and add captions and music.
* It could be in the form of a cartoon/comic.
* Try designing an advertisement for the book. It could be in the form of : text, text and an image suitable for inclusion in a magazine, text read aloud as audio, text for video if you have access to a camera, text and images for inclusion in a slideshow, improvised advertisements that can be performed after a little practise for an audience, any combination of the above.
* Kids can make or contribute to book trailers. For some useful help, check out Creating Trailers with Students
* Instead of a book report, use animated movie people to speak about the book. At websites like Xtranormal, you can animate characters and have them speak. Kids could have one character interview another, and report about a book that way.
* Instead of a brief book report, use Blabberize to record voice behind a photo. Or try Voki where kids can choose an avatar to use for their own voices.