The team of 5th and 6th grade students participated in a three week enrichment course facilitated by GEMS librarian, Amy Rider, to develop critical reading and writing skills. At the end of the course, students published reviews as well as analyzed data to make book purchase recommendations for new library books.

The course began with students learning about all of the key components of book reviews. Each day, Mrs. Rider read picture books aloud and students discussed the elements in the books. Although often thought of books for younger audiences, these older students were able to do a deep dive into the short stories and illustrations, gaining insight for each of the books’ themes, messages, and audiences.

Next, the students were individually assigned a picture book, and were challenged to write a book review using all the skills they had recently learned. Once written, students were then paired with a student assigned the same book, to compare and contrast reviews with each other. Finally, these student pairs collaborated together using Google Docs on iPads to write a final cohesive review.

You can review the class’s book reviews in GEMS Follett Destiny Catalog (follow the instructions below for access.

  1. Click here
  2. Select Georgia Elementary/Middle School
  3. Click the Catalog tab
  4. Select Resource Lists in the left column
  5. Click ‘View’ next to the top link, 5/6 Reviews

For their final task, the students were then challenged by Mrs. Rider to review several book reviews to make recommendations of books that could be purchased by the GEMS library. Students read and analyzed reviews for over 20 books and submitted their recommendations citing facts and data from the reviews. As a result, Mrs. Rider was able to compile a list of 9 books based on the hard work and feedback of the team. In the future, these books will be purchased and added to the library, available for all GEMS students and staff.

Angelique Fairbrother is the Digital Learning Coach at Franklin West Supervisory Union. She is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow her on Twitter @FWSUtech.

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