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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Trying to set up book review blogs

Ever feel like you’re starting all over again? I’ve used EduBlogs with students and witnessed an immediate response, but I had problems getting privileges set so students could post the entries, not just respond with comments. 

This year I decided to use wikispaces to set up a simple wiki for our students to begin adding their own reviews.  I have many students writing reviews, taking all my Post-It notes to slap their opinion on the ARC’s and preview books I receive, and discussing new titles in small groups. Our wiki is definitely a work in progress as our students learn how to post, but I wanted to share our process openly with you.

One of my 8th grade Language Arts teachers (Ms N) is so full of enthusiasm this year. Her class is motivated to read. She has bought books for her classroom library every weekend since school started. Students check out her books, check out library books, and share their own books among each others. They advise her of titles they want to read. Her room is an exciting place and her classes insist upon frequent trips to the library. YES! 

Ms. N asked me to share with her students some quick tips for writing book blurbs. I could use your help and critiques. Please visit the site or read below and let me know what I’ve missed. I would love to create the "ultimate guide" to writing book blurbs. If you have a suggestion or links, please add them in the comments (just leave off the http://)

Welcome and Congratulations!
You are part of web 2.0 and a collaborative team at JFK Middle School.

We encourage you to add your own book reviews as wiki posts. Your review should be unique and individual. Here are some simple ideas that you may or may not use to get started:

  • ALWAYS read the entire book before you write about it.
  • Remember that a book is an author’s baby so think carefully about others before you write.
  • Focus on one chapter or scene in the book and let us hear from the author by quoting a small passage.
  • Tell us your favorite part, but don’t spoil the readers’ experience by telling them too much information (TMI).
  • Tell us about your favorite character.
  • Compare this book to others that you liked or that you didn’t like.
  • Have fun writing.

Most book blurbs are different from book reports because they give you an overview of the book, a judgment or analysis, and, most importantly, a section containing your own insights and comments about the book.

  1. The overview should be a really brief paragraph about the plot or theme of the book. It includes the author, title, and date of publication so the reader knows what book you are writing about. Tell the reader what type of book it is. Some types might include fiction, fantasy,historical fiction, comedy, nonfiction, biography, guides,
  2. The judgment should tell us whether the author met his or her purpose or goal in writing the book, whether it was well-written, whether it kept your attention, whether it taught you something new, etc.
  3. The critique is your personal part of the blog review. Here is where you decide whether the book was worth reading, how you think it could be used, who might like to read it, or even the problems with the book. Here is where you rate the book.

Read other reviews on blogs and wikis. Then make comments if you have also read the book or if the review was so well-written that you want to read the book.

If you want to comment on one of these book blurbs, please insert a line like the one above and identify yourself by your code name so we know who is responding. Thanks for participating.