Today, students are preparing scripts for book reviews to record. We spent time reviewing the kinds of information we need to provide for our listeners, and as a part of that conversation, we discussed what to do if we didn’t like a book. I talked with the kids about how we will not love (or even like) every single book that we read. I gave some examples of books that I’ve read, but didn’t care for and explained what I didn’t like about those books. The one thing that I do stress is that it’s important to give a book a chance before making any decision. I also reminded students that others would listen to their book reviews and that they needed to be honest.
One of my students, L, didn’t immediately get started on writing his script. He flipped through the book several times, but didn’t write anything. I decided to give him some wait time. We often talk about wait time when calling on a student during discussions, but I think that we also must consider wait time when writing. I don’t always sit down and immediately put my pen to paper or my fingers to the keyboard. So I waited and watched. The others in the group were writing and consulting their books and seemed to be on track, so I continued to observe L. Finally, he started writing and I was curious to see what he had to say about his book. As I peeked at his notebook, I saw that he had written, “I do not like the book because it just repeats itself.” I appreciate that L was willing to say that he didn’t like the book and I value his honesty because that will help me better support him when choosing books. As he worked on developing his script, I asked him to elaborate on why he didn’t like the book, and he was able to give examples about what he didn’t like. This kind of thoughtful consideration is exactly what I want to foster in all of my students. I don’t want them to be puppets that say they liked a book because they think that’s what I want to hear. I want them to realize that they have opinion and those opinions matter.