5 Benefits of Writing a Book Review in KS2
Writing book reviews might be a classroom staple, but have you truly considered why they’re so beneficial to a child’s learning?
Contrary to popular belief, writing a book review isn’t a test of knowledge – nor should they be used to ‘prove’ that a book has been read.
It is, of course, quite difficult to review a book without reading it first. However, reducing this task to a mere confirmation tactic would be a wasted opportunity; it has a whole lot more to offer your little learners.
If you’re not sure of the wider benefits that writing book reviews can bring, don’t worry – we’ve summarised our top five below.
1. Nifty Notetaking
Learning to pick out useful pieces of information from longer texts is a skill that can be used throughout life – particularly when growing up and learning at more advanced levels.
There’s no reason why the technique can’t be introduced early, when children have gained some writing competency and are being introduced to longer passages.
When thinking ahead to a book review, readers should be encouraged to note down the quotes and phrases which they are likely to want to reference later; ideally on a single page of their exercise book, so they can easily find what they need when it’s time to look back.
2. Competent Critical Thinking
Writing a book review is a chance to examine literature and digest it in a more complex way than simply following the story and understanding its plot.
Compile a list of questions to help children think critically about the book they’re reading and draw conclusions based on both facts and feelings.
- Are the characters believable? Are they somebody you would like to meet in real life?
- Do you like author’s writing style and how they use words?
- What emotions did you feel when you read the book? Which passages made you feel this way?
- Did you feel satisfied by the story’s ending?
3. Reliable Research
Learning how to properly research a topic is another skill that will serve your pupils well throughout their education.
To add further context to a review, ask the class to do a little research into the author of their chosen book. Using the author’s website, for example, could tell you about their life and other books they’ve written.
Does this make you understand the book any better or think about it differently?
4. Riveting Reflection
Reviews don’t need to be positive – what matters most is that they’re accurate and constructive.
When writing their review, children should consider not only if they enjoyed the book or not, but why.
This will help the children understand the kinds of literature they’re most drawn towards and, critically, that you can consider yourself an avid reader without necessarily enjoying everything you come across.
Similarly, the children may discover themselves feeling differently towards genres that weren’t initially their book of choice.
5. Impressive Influence
Peer recommendation is powerful.
When a book is positively received by a child, it’s likely to be considered by their friends – it’s the same simple science that we find with any kind of review, and a benefit that the whole class can enjoy.