I’m currently working with year 6 children for a morning each week to help to improve their writing through their use of new technology. Each class has its own blog and each child has their own login, which they can use to post writing and to comment on others’ work. I’ll write in more detail about that in a future article. However, as an addition to this, I have also created a separate blog which children can use to read and write book reviews.
The idea came about after a phase meeting in which we discussed strategies for encouraging children to read more. Part of the problem was that children didn’t necessarily know which of the books available to them might be worth reading. The book review blog, albeit very new, is starting to provide this information – as well as giving children further opportunities to write and share their opinions. The ‘comment’ facility also allows for discussion about each review and the social media aspect provides motivation to join such a discussion.
Because we use a multisite WordPress installation, it was easy to allow children to ‘self register’ for this new blog having previously logged into their class blog. The blog relies on the excellent ‘Book Review‘ WordPress plugin which sources its data from the Google Books database. To post a review, children simply type the ISBN into a form below their main post content. This populates information about the book and displays a cover picture and synopsis which become part of the finished review. Children then type their thoughts, choose a star rating from a drop down menu and submit.
The database will sometimes fail to return data about an ISBN but, when this happens, children can enter relevant data manually and upload (or link to) a copy of the cover from an alternative website, such as Amazon.
Visit the blog at www.wintonprimary.uk/blogs/books
Here’s an example…