Quick Reads – Writing a book review

I’ve recently realised that my lessons and I are too exam focused. This has partially come from my last lesson observation where I was criticised for constantly reminding my students how the sessions fitted in with the exam for the Adult Certificate in Literacy and partially because I have always been very exam focused but have come to realise that my students may not be.

As the students only have six weeks to complete the course, for the last two months the reading lessons have purely focused on reading comprehension and skimming and scanning techniques as this is normally part of the end of course exam. After being inspired by Cathy Wint’s blog post on class reading I decided to change the focus of my lessons and encourage my students to start reading short stories. In order to do this I adapted one of my favourite lessons, the film review/planning your writing lesson that I blogged about in March. Instead of writing a film review I changed the lesson to focus on writing a book review.

Before the lesson I visited the local library and borrowed a selection of books from the Quick Reads series, a series of books written especially for low level adults. Each ss chose a book and read the first chapter. The ss then wrote a book review based on what they had just read. Although I’d provided a wide variety of books for the students to choose from most of the students didn’t enjoy reading and after writing their book review most decided to not continue reading their book. All was not lost though as one students loved the short story that he had chosen and decided to spend the rest of the session reading it and then decided to take it out of the library to finish reading at home 🙂

Here’s a quick overview of the lesson plan:

  1. Discuss what ss have read or written today – bus numbers, labels on pop bottles, the Metro, their timesheet etc.
  2. Discuss how reading and writing is a part of everday life
  3. Discuss todays lesson objectives and planning order and how the session will help them in their everyday tasks
  4. Explain that there are five stages in the writing process, write the first letter of each stage upon the board for the students to guess what each stage is.
  5. Split the ss into groups and give each ss a collection of title cards.
  6. As a class fill in the missing words from the writing process on the board.
  7. Ss arrange the titles in the order
  8. Ss match the description cards with the title cards
  9. Ss make a note of this information as a mind map or list
  10. Discuss the planning process – show ppt
  11. Ss plan what information could be included in a book review
  12. Ss pick a book and discuss what they think it’s going to be about
  13. Ss read the first chapter and write a review about it
  14.  Discuss what they thought about the first chapter of the book and what they think about the Quick Reads series
  15. Ss can then either continue reading the book or complete a series of reading comprehension worksheets
  16. Recap what the ss have learnt today

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