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So What Do You Think? Writing a Review
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Four 50-minute sessions|
Teenagers are often outspoken and opinionated. Writing reviews of the literature they read gives them a chance to express their ideas while developing style and voice. This lesson uses discussion of student opinions about yesterday's lunch or a popular TV show serves as an introduction to the genre of reviews. Students then read and analyze conflicting reviews. After examining samples of movie, music, restaurant, and book reviews, students devise guidelines for writing interesting and informative reviews. They then produce their own reviews of the literature they’re reading in class. Finally, students compare their ideas and their pieces with published reviews of the same piece of literature.
Though this lesson is illustrated with examples from student and professional reviews of Raymond Carver’s writing, the techniques can be used with whatever literature students are reading.
Components of a Review: This handout gives an overview of what is normally included in a critical review.
Review Guidelines: Students can use these guidelines when writing their own critical reviews.
While it's important for students to learn to read and evaluate critical commentary, "Each reader has a right-and even a responsibility-to form his or her own opinions, based on that reader's reading and understanding of a piece of literature, and to be able to support those opinions with solid reasons" (97).
When students express ideas on an author's work that are also noted by critics, "it presents a perfect opportunity to introduce critical commentary naturally into class discussion in order to promote a deeper understanding of the literature" (100).
Rubenstein, Susanne. 2005. Raymond Carver in the Classroom "A Small, Good Thing." Urbana, IL: NCTE.