Reading is an essential foundation of education. It is a skill taught to all from an early age and serves as a powerful tool for children to digest the world around them. The benefits of reading are widely understood and students are constantly being encouraged to read. And with the rise of eBooks and audiobooks, access to literary greats are only a few clicks away.
Taking this to the next level is progressing students to writing reviews of books. At the conclusion of our Book Club programs, we encourage students to conduct book reviews, which serves as an exercise to consolidate their knowledge and ideas on topics surrounding the books.
Writing book reviews isn’t just about the better retention of information, nor does it serve as evidence for the fact that a student has read the book, despite it being difficult to write a book review without having read the book first.
So, what are the benefits of completing a book review? Here are some which only begin to scratch the surface:
Critical thinking skills development: By asking students to articulate their thoughts and reflection on paper, it gives them an opportunity to examine the literature and digest it in a more complex way than simply following the story and understanding its plot. By compiling questions such as: “What is the protagonist’s objective” or “what emotions did you feel across the book”; students can reflect more deeply into the narrative.
Note-taking competence: Learning to pick out useful pieces of information from longer texts is a skill that can be used throughout students’ life - particularly as they advance into higher education. With the end goal of writing book reviews, students are encouraged to note down the quotes and phrases which are thematic to the book.
Discovery of personal preferences: Reviews don’t need to be positive – what matters most is that they’re accurate and constructive. When writing their review, students should consider not only if they liked/disliked the book, but why. This will help students understand the kinds of literature they’re most drawn towards, which further improves their relationship with reading. Similarly, students may discover themselves feeling differently towards genres that weren’t initially their book of choice.
The value of expressing oneself: When students start to articulate their thoughts and analysis on a piece of literature, they can express themselves to the others. By doing so, they develop a greater sense of confidence and sound conviction which help across a variety of different communication mediums.
This holiday, we sum up our Book Club programs by reviewing the books we have studied with our students. Students are encouraged to submit in their book reviews for a chance for their work to be published on our website. We look forward to reading their interpretations and insights.