Jul 19, 2013

Fabulous Finds Friday: Kids Book Review site

So funny story...  About a month ago, a Vivint sales rep came to my door to tell me that, although Vivint mostly does home security, they were trying out a wireless internet system in my area. She wanted to know if I was interested in trying it for a month and giving feedback.  I was actually very interested seeing as I had just gone the rounds with Comcast AGAIN and was fed up with them and looking for a new option.  And so Vivint wireless was installed and peace was once again restored to our cable/internet world.  Last week another sales rep came by to get my feedback on my experience so far.  As we were talking, I mentioned that I happened to be a teacher.  She mentioned that she happened to help start a site for kids to review books, called litpicks.com.  She described it as Goodreads for kids, but there is a nice twist to it: free books. For your kids. For your classroom.  For your library.

So here's how it works.  Publishers that are looking to get an idea of what kids like, or just get the word out about their book, send copies to litpicks.com, who then send it on to you.  The kids read it, post a review about the book on the website, and get to keep the book (printed copy or e-book is sent).  You, as the teacher, can go online and see the reviews your students have written and can help them pick which books they should request.  The more books you get, the more books your kids can try and become interested in.  Reading books can suddenly become techy and "cool".

So the big question is, how are you going to use this great site??  Here are a few of my ideas:

  • A lot of teachers assign monthly book reports-this has never been my kind of thing.  But I think it might be fun to have a book report assignment consist of reading and reviewing one of the books on LitPick.  The kids would probably get such a kick out of reading each others' reviews as they were posted, which might encouraged the stragglers to get theirs done too!
  • Every couple of months, we have a Parent Student Book Club, in which the kids and their parents read a book and meet together to discuss it (and eat treats, of course!).  I'm planning on requesting a class set of one of the ebook versions to use as our Book Club book.
  • Use one of the books as a read aloud and write a class review together.
  • Have pairs of students partner read one of the books together, co-write a review, and then present their review to the class as if they were Siskel & Ebert.
  • Have students use their review to create a movie-trailer-like video.  You could set up a "movie theater" with the chairs, pop popcorn and watch everyone's movie-trailer book reviews.  If you wanted to you could even type up a list of all the books being reviewed so that, as they're watching, the students can mark which of the books they want to go read.
  • Have students create a book jacket for one of the ebook versions they request, using their review on one of the inside flaps and writing a summary of the book on the back.
  • Every week, give kids time to tell the class what book they're reading from LitPick and why they gave it the review they did.
What else can you think of that you could do with LitPick?

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