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Hearing the Sound of Opinion Writing

Right now is the perfect time to begin sharing book reviews. Readers across the globe are making plans as they begin a new school year. Teachers are book talking. Kids are book talking. We begin lists in notebooks of favorite books, books we want to read, books we have read.

Common core demands we take a good look at opinion writing. One place to begin is with a book review. They are easy to find — check out any online book store and there’s a slew of reviews or do a quick Google search and find tons of book blogs where readers are sharing their opinions about a variety of titles. The Spaghetti Book Cub publishes student book reviews.

In order for students to be positioned to write their opinions well, they need to hear how other people craft their opinions in writing. Sharing book reviews allows the sound of opinion writing to enter our classrooms well before we embark on a unit of study.

This week my daughter, Stephanie, and I did a little investigating into book reviews. We read several book reviews (and she added some new titles to her wish list). Last week she finished reading book three in the Ivy + Bean series. She decided to try her hand at writing a book review.

Stephanie’s (grade 3) 5-star review of Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record. Click on the image to enter a giveaway of this book.

I’m reminded that opinion writing doesn’t have to be daunting. It doesn’t have to fill up a month of writing workshop. I don’t have to make it more complicated than it needs to be. It begins by simply filling the room with the sound of opinions.

Here are links to some other posts I wrote at the end of last school year about writing reviews.

Opinion Writing in Kindergarten

Review Unit Launch

Review Mentor Texts

Frankly Frannie, Check, Please!

And here is a little video celebration from one kindergarten class after we completed our unit of study on reviews.

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

4 thoughts on “Hearing the Sound of Opinion Writing Leave a comment

  1. I am a middle school language arts teacher, and I glean ideas from your wonderful site and adapt them to my students’ level of understanding and writing abilities. As we begin the year and the process of sharing our best books through “book commercials” each day, I like to use Amazon reviews (both sides) of favorite YA books to get the process started. Students read selected reviews as mentor texts at tables and listen for the voice and signal words that indicate a “critiquing” point of view or “supportive” point-of-view. This helps students understand that regardless of their interest in the book, they can still craft a well-developed review and share their insights in favor of or reasoning against a specific book using similar voice and signal words.

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  2. Thanks for sharing Steph’s great review!

    There was some talk about digitizing kids’ book reviews when I was at the TCRWP Reading Institute. Essentially teachers are videotaping kids’ book reviews, saving them, and linking them to QR codes that are stuck to the back of each book.

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  3. Thanks for sharing the process through the review your daughter wrote as well as implications for classrooms. I look forward to layering reviews in my classroom as more of a genre study (but as you mentioned – it can be relatively quick).

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