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Teachers: Literacy: Text

Last Updated: Tuesday November 01 2005 11:39 GMT

Book review


Students chat about their favourite reads and perform a back-to-front book review for a TV programme called 'Boring Book Brother.'

Learning aims

By the end of the lesson, students should:

  • Have some ideas about new authors and genres they might like to read
  • Understand the ingredients of a book review
  • Use persuasive language confidently to (de)recommend books!


Match author and title

This activity requires enough space for the students to walk freely around the room.

Print out this worksheet, cut it into strips, muddle them up and give a strip to each student. There are enough strips for up to 34 students.

Half the students have the name of an author and a description of a book they have written.

The other half have the title of a book.

By communicating with one another, students pair up with the person holding the matching strip.

The list has been put together by The Reading Agency, who are encouraging children to chart a 'Reading Voyage' of the books they have read. Click on the links in the right-hand green box for more information.

Two personality-based quizzes on the Reading Voyage website suggest authors and titles children might like to try, and a third tests their knowledge of children's literature. If you have internet access, they can also be used as ice-breaker activities.

Main activity

Back-to-front reading review

Students review a book they have read for a programme called 'Boring Book Brother.'

The people who watch the show are scared of anything exciting and only leave the house to buy a really boring book.

The book reviews are done in the style of an interview in The Big Brother Diary Room.

Books (Image: The Reading Voyage)

Using this book review template, students make notes about the following details:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Story
  • Characters
  • Highlights
  • Weak bits
  • Rating (1-5)
They also note down reasons why a Boring Book Brother viewer would dislike about the book.

The following prompts are printed on the bottom of the template.

The story/plot This is WHAT happens e.g. Harry defeats Voldemort.

You can also make a note of WHERE and WHEN the story takes place e.g. Hogwarts school of wizardry, present day.

Note down what a boring person would most hate about the story.

The characters or WHO is in the book. To help you describe the characters, jot down these details:

  • Name of character
  • Role
  • Adjective to describe them
For example:
  • Harry Potter
  • Schoolboy wizard
  • Brave
Make a note of what a boring person would most hate about the characters.

Highlights Note down your least favourite part of the book. This is likely to be the highlight for a boring person!

Were there any chapters where you found yourself wishing for some action to liven up the plot? Any unrealistic characters? Any descriptions or chapters that you felt were poor?

Describe these as the best pieces of writing ever!

Any weak bits? For a boring person, these are likely to be the most exciting bits.

Was there a particular piece of action, description or characters' speech you really enjoyed?

Describe this as the worst piece of writing ever!

Rating If you really enjoyed the book, a boring person is likely to give it one out of five!

In pairs, one student adopts the role of interviewer (the invisible voice in Big Brother's diary room, and the other plays the Boring Book reviewer.

Students role play the diary room book review:

  • Reviewer introduces the author and title of the book
  • Interviewer asks questions about the story, characters, highlights, weak bits and ratings
  • Reviewer answers, making the book sound like the worst choice in the world for a boring person!
Students can script the book review if time allows.

Extension activity

Dream reading room

Students transform the diary room into their ideal reading room.

They can draw what it would look like, making notes about what they would see, hear, smell and feel in the room...


Create a word picture by writing down words which describe:

  • What the room would look like
  • The music/sounds they would listen to
  • The scents they would smell
  • Textures of the furniture in the room
  • How the room would make them feel
The Reading Voyage website contains a series of video clips of authors talking about their favourite reading 'habitats.'


Students perform their Boring Book Brother reviews.

After each performance, ask for a show of hands to gauge the number of students who would read the book.

Curriculum relevance

English / KS 2&3 / En2 Reading
4c. Identify how character and setting are created, and how plot, narrative structure and themes are developed.
1g. Express preferences and support views by reference to texts.
1h. Respond imaginatively, drawing on the whole text and other reading.
8a. Study a range of modern fiction by significant children's authors.

The numbers refer to the KS2 National Curriculum Programme of Study for English.

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