WRITING A BOOK REVIEW
DOWNLOAD THE ACTIVITY HERE: Writing a book review activity_ ClickandCLIL
THE REASONING BEHIND THIS ACTIVITY
There are many strong pedagogical principles which justify the design and procedure of this activity. It is very similar to the description of a painting activity from a couple of months ago. First of all, writing a book review is an excellent way to develop literacy at primary level and the transferable and life-long skills of carefully structuring writing, developing critical thinking, bearing in mind author intention and adapting writing to a specific target audience. It is true that some of the language, and concepts, may seem quite complex, for example “plot” or “rhetorical question”, but these are specific words related to literacy and the topic being worked here (CALP, language of learning). It is taken for granted that these concepts and words would be worked by the teacher in class as part of an overall progression working on literacy.
The lesson progression starts with LOTS (Low order thinking skills) identifying and matching (understanding in Bloom’s taxonomy) moving towards HOTS (High order thinking skills) analyzing content and structure (analyzing in Bloom’s taxonomy), evaluating the fourth review and offering suggestions for improvement (evaluating and creating in Bloom’s taxonomy). The next step is writing their own original book reviews (again, creating in Bloom’s taxonomy). The final step goes beyond cognition to metacognition because students have to evaluate their classmates’ reviews with the rubrics, which is an example of formative assessment or assessment for learning and helps learners to become conscious of their own cognitive processes and learning. Finally, this activity is for fifth of primary but it could be adapted depending on the level. Taking into account that these book reviews were written by native speaking eight year-olds, cognitively this would not be too ambitious to do with children of fifth grade of primary in Spain as long as they are provided sufficient scaffolding. Essentially this is a challenging task which has been broken into careful, scaffolded steps so that the learners can do something that would have been too difficult for them at the beginning of the lesson sequence.