V4 - Book Review lessons

V4 - Book Review
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EngelsMiddelbare schoolvwoLeerjaar 4

This lesson contains 27 slides, with text slides and 1 video.

time-iconLesson duration is: 120 min

Items in this lesson

V4 - Book Review

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Book review
  • Part of the upcoming test in the testweek
  • About 1 of the books from the 20th Century Literature reader  (see list in Studyplanner)
  • Will be in line with the CAE writing exam requirements
  • Rubric will be used to grade your review
  • Combined with the grade for Literature, so remember that both the 20th Century Literature Reader + lessons and this book review are your upcoming test!

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Lesson 1: Flip the classroom
Writing Folder 7
Practice review in pairs

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Writing Folder 7 (p.110-111)
  • Pair up with a classmate and work through the writing folder on review writing. You can find it on page 110 in your OA book (blue one). This should take you about half an hour. Use online support if you need it.
  • Check your answers and write the review of exercise 6. 
  • You can type it or write it by hand.
    Hand it in to your teacher for revision.

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Lesson 2: CAE review 
What to put in your review
How will it be graded?  Rubric
Review assignment 1

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What should be in your review?

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What should be in your review?
1. A title.
2. Your first paragraph is your introduction. Introduce your book, its title and writer: give your reader an indication of the structure of your review.
3. Start a new paragraph for every item/aspect you address in your review. Skip a line in between.
4. Do give your assessment of what you are reviewing
5. Check whether all the points mentioned in the task have been covered by you.
6. Your final paragraph should include a final recommendation or evaluation.

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Keep in mind!
A review is more than a just summary of the story! 
It should show a more in-depth understanding of the work and your opinion about it.

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  • 25 points in total
  • Content and language most important part
  • Use while practising writing reviews
  • Make sure you reach the minimum requirement for word count

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Example assignment

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Remember, there are two main questions for you to answer here. It makes a lot of sense to give each of those questions their own paragraph as they talk about different aspects of your review.
Additionally, you should add an introduction (with a title) in which you create some anticipation and engage the reader as well as a conclusion where you summarise your main points and make a recommendation (because that’s why we read reviews). In total, that comes to four paragraphs which could look like this:
  • Title/Introduction
  • What did you learn about the person's character?
  • Do you now better understand why the person was affected by the event/decision?
  • Conclusion/Recommendation

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Assignment 1 week 9
You see this announcement in an international magazine:

Send in a review which describes the most uplifting film you’ve ever seen and the one you found the biggest downer. Make sure you give reasons for your choices.
Write your review in 200-250 words in an appropriate style.

The most UPLIFTING and the biggest DOWNER.
It’s sometimes hard to choose a film that fits your mood purely on the basis of the poster or the description on the cover of the DVD. That’s why we want to publish reviews of the most uplifting and the most depressing films our readers have seen, so that others know what to watch and what to avoid.

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Model review

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Lesson 3: Writing reviews
Video support
Review assignment 2 

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Watch the video with writing tips about review writing for the CAE exam and take notes. 
Write down the tips you think you will need. 

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  • Think what you are trying to achieve and, in the introduction, of the structure of your review.
  • You should also start a new paragraph for every item/aspect you are addressing in your review.
  • Try to make it interesting by using a wide range of vocabulary comparisons to describe something; specialized topic vocabulary.
  • Give your assessment of what you are reviewing and points mentioned in the task input.
  • Include a final recommendation or evaluation
  • Don’t forget! The target reader is specified in the question, so the student knows not only what register is appropriate, but also has an idea about the kind of information to include.
  • Language of opinion (positive, negative), recommendation, description is necessary.

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  • Use descriptive language but you also need to tailor your writing to the target reader. Think about this when deciding what type of language to use and whether or not your ideas are appropriate. Try to practise with review questions which target different readers. Write and Improve is a good website with a variety of questions.
  • Use a wide range of vocabulary: colourful, lively language; comparisons to describe something; specialised topic vocabulary, make use of synonyms if necessary.
  • In an CAE exam the target reader is specified in the question, take your reader in mind and decide what register is appropriate, and think about the kind of information to include.
  • Use language of opinion (positive, negative) but in an appropriate register.
  • Finished? Check your work for mistakes.

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  • Read a wide variety of different reviews to help you with learning appropriate language use, such as the right adjectives, and it will help you learn how to describe and explain. Furthermore, it teaches you how to give an opinion, positive or negative, and make a recommendation.
  • Check to see if you can find any reviews written by published or well-known authors. If you find any of these reviews, check whether they give recommendations and try to copy the style of these and the language they use in your own writing.

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  • What I liked most was …..
  • I was pleasantly surprised by …..
  •  ….. would appeal to …..
  •  If you get a chance to ….

  • What I disliked most was …..
  • I was (very) disappointed by ……
  • I was (intensely) disappointed with …..

  • I recommend/suggest [title/name] to + person
  • I recommend/suggest + -ing
  • I recommend/suggest that …
  • You should + base verb
  • You might want to + base verb

  • "Did you know.....?" - Ask a question in the review to make the reader more interested in what you're saying.
  • "give it a miss" - this means do not watch or read the book/film/television series.
  • "It will have you in hysterics" - this means when you cannot stop laughing.
  • "...gives a great account of..." - this means the book/film summarizes or describes something very well. 
  • "the plot was dull..." - this means the story line was boring.\

  • I would strongly encourage you not to miss/not to waste your money on...
  • I would definitely recommend reading/having a look at ...
  • Being a bit of a film buff/book worm, the news that … released a new film/book had me itching to see/read it.
  • Having never seen/read… before I approached … with a sense of trepidation, not knowing what to expect. Soon however, all fears were allayed.

Useful phrases

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Vocab to describe the book in general:
a page-turner / a white-knuckle ride / a tearjerker / a laugh a minute / I couldn’t put it down.

Vocab to describe specific parts:
a slow start / a gentle introduction /gripping climax / nail-biting conclusion / cliff-hanger ending/ a shocking twist in the tail

The book is set in _______(place/time)
The action takes place in ______ (place/time)
the present day (now)
an alternate reality where vampires / wizards walk the earth
a sleepy village in the USA
the bustling city of New York

The plot centres around / focuses on (the adventures / lives of _________)
The plot follows the adventures of _________(character name)

The plot struck me as completely bizarre / absurd / incomprehensible.

Villain / hero / heroine / anti-hero / main character / protagonist
The characters are believable / well-crafted / a bit 2 dimensional.
The characters are appealing and true to life.

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Killer Lines:

  • Were I to sum up … in one word, it would be…
  • … left a lot to be desired (wasn’t good enough)
  • …more than lives up to the hype (is as good as everyone says it is)
  • … is by far and away the best … you’re likely to … this year
  • … really raises the bar (sets a higher standard)
  • … sets the benchmark for other (others will be judges against how good it is)
  • … ticks all the right boxes
  • … holds up well in comparison with …
  • …comes off badly in comparison with …

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Assignment 2 week 10
You see the following announcement in an a literary magazine for young adults:

Write your review for the magazine readers in 200-260 words. Make sure you answer all the questions in your review and that you use the Rubric and Useful Phrases list for support. 

Send us a review of your favourite book which also has a film adaptation. Compare the book to the film adaptation. Why is the book/film the better version of the story? Where the characters better portrayed in one of them? Was the plot similar between the two, or was it altered completely? Did they alter themes or settings? Would you recommend the book or film for audiences?

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