Writing a book review

Learning focus

To learn how to discuss and give opinions about books and stories you have read.

This lesson includes:

  • one video to show you how to discuss and share ideas about books

  • one video of Paralympic Basketball player and sports presenter Ade Adepitan reading from Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

  • three activities

Learn

To discuss means to talk or write about a subject in detail.

It is good to be able to discuss stories and books with other people and to share views and ideas on them.

Watch this video to find out how to discuss and give opinions on something you have read.

Learn how to discuss what you read with this Teacher Talk

When discussing stories you might talk about:

  • opinions on the characters and why you think that
  • the ending of the story
  • writer's hints in a story - why they wrote things in a certain way or clues they have about what was happening

Discussing and summarising are two different things.

Discussing is about a person's ideas and views on a story.

Summarising is summing up what has happened in a story.

Practise

You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Choose one of the questions from the end of the video to discuss.

  • Do you think fairy tales should always have a happy ending?

  • Do you think fairy tales should still be popular with children?

  • What is your favourite fairy tale?

You could write your ideas down or talk about them with someone at home.

Remember to back up your ideas with evidence using the word 'because'.

Activity 2

Watch this video of Paralympic Basketball player and sports presenter Ade Adepitan reading from Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce.

Listen carefully. Ade reads some extracts and explains how Philippa Pearce’s writing really captured his imagination when he was younger.

Watch Ade Adepitan reading from 'Tom's Midnight Garden' by Philippa Pearce.

You can write your answers down on paper, or discuss them instead.

1. Why did Ade enjoy reading Tom's Midnight Garden when he was young? Give two reasons.

2. What does Ade like so much about how Philippa Pearce described the garden? (Top tip: Go to 2 minutes and 42 seconds in the video.)

3. Do you think you would like reading Tom’s Midnight Garden? Why?

Activity 3

Now think about a book you’ve enjoyed reading or listening to. You're going to review that book and the author - just like Ade did in the video.

Imagine that you are presenting your book review to your class.

Write out your answers to the prompts below to use as a script.

  • What is the title of the book?

  • Who is the author (and illustrator)?

  • Give a brief explanation of what happens in the book. Be careful not to reveal too many spoilers!

  • Give two reasons why your friends should read the book. You could use some of these sentence starters:

You definitely need to read this book because.................

This book is essential on your book shelf because.................

Every year 5 pupil should read this book because.................

  • Conclude by summarising the book in three words.

When you've finished, why not have a go at presenting your book review to a friend or family member?

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt how to discuss and give opinions about books and stories you have read.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you enjoy reading.

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