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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Saturday Spotlight: Guide to Review Writing for MG

I am trying to encourage pupils at school and also my own children to write book reviews. The reason: I think it gives them a better understanding of both the book and their own preferences as to what they do and do not like.

My oldest daughter especially has asked me to compile an outline of what is expected from a review. OK she got me on that one; as I just write and don't actually think about the process. I will come back to this later. [ : D ]

So here is where you come in. Please, please, please could you help me put together a list or an outline of the things to include in a review.

Going back to how I write;  Adele from Persnickety Snark featured a vlog a while ago describing her review writing process (link below) I was so fascinated and other people took up the challenge:

How I Write Reviews  - Persnickety Snark
How I Blog Now - The Mountains of Instead
How I Write Reviews - Books 4 Teens

I will be doing a How I Review post in the New Year (something for me to look forward to). While I have been examining my own review process, I thought of a few things that I generally like/don't like to see included in the review:

The picture of the cover.

The synopsis - preferably the one from the book (my own preference)

Personal perspective of the book - written in first person narrative - remember my catch-phrase "reading is subjective" - so the way in which I view/feel about a book is going to be different to how someone else relates to that book. I like to see exactly how that book has affected that particular person.

Correct spelling [ : D ]

Some background information on the main characters, their personalities, history and interactions without giving away too much detail about the plot.

That's what I have so far and really need to simplify it for 9 to 12 year olds to fully understand.

So what else do you think is required within a review and how would you explain it to a Middle Grader.

If you have any links to review tips please leave them in the comment box for me.



  1. You can check out reading tween .

  2. Hi PinkStuff28 is that a blog???

  3. This is really an interesting topic, and I don't think I have a clue on the answers. When I was at school I had some teachers who said book reviewing was all about synopsis plus opinion, and one or two who wouldn't let us go *near* the word 'I'.

    Personally, I try not to present what I write in a review as being my own individual response to a book - I try to describe the book, and take myself out of it as much as possible. I have considered that if people visit blogs for the 'I' stuff, they probably won't like mine that much! I also don't think you need to cover all aspects of a each book you review, though some would disagree with me.

    For middle grade age pupils though, I would suspect it's all about the 'I' point of view. Maybe summary plus a bit about the characters and structure, and then what they liked and didn't like about it.

  4. I really love the how I blog/reviews that I've been seeing recently and I planned to write one of my own soon as well. For me, I don't think my reviews follow a structure. Besides writing out the summary in my own words, I mean. What follows that is dependent on the book - whether it was the characters or the themes or something else that stuck out for me the most is generally what I'll write about. But good luck to you encouraging your girls and students to become book bloggers/reviewers :)


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