P2 Journal – Teaching Kids How To Write A Book Review

Date:  April 14, 2014

This week journal topic is to write about a book.  

Yeah!  A book review sort of journal.

This is how I teach Jay what is a book review.

Again, you need a whiteboard and a stage.

Instead of starting from a very thick book, I advised him to start on a very simple book first.  

Although this is a very simple big letters book, but because he watched the movie before, the impression of the story is deep.


So, first thing I taught is to write in the following format.

1.  My daddy bought me a book last week….

2.  The book is called ….

3.  It is written by Helen Murray, and it is published by DK Readers …

4.  SUPER SUMMARY:  This is a book about ….

That is the first 4 sentences in Paragraph 1.

He was having huge problem in summarising the story.

And he started with, Emmet is a construction worker, and he works in… One day, he fell into a hole, and he met WyldStyle….

and he continues.

So, I teach him that is not a “SUPER SUMMARY”.

Super Summary has to be one single sentence and tell you about the story.

So, we go on with the brain storming session.

This is a story about 

– Who?  An ordinary guy called Emmet.

– What he has done?  He becomes a Master Builder.

– To do what?  To defeat the Lord Business.

– And?  Save the universe.

OK.  Once you have done the pointers, who, where, what, etc…  It is time to summarise it into a SUPER SUMMARY. 

==>  This is a story about Emmet saving the world by becoming a master builder.

That’s it.

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So, to strengthen the idea…. you give another example, on shows he has seen before…


Who?  Anna and Elsa.  Two sisters.

What happen?  Elsa cannot control her power.  So, she stopped playing with Anna.

What happen?  Anna look for Elsa, and try to help her.

What happen?  Elsa can control her power.  

What happen?  Elsa can play with Anna again.

Super Summary ==> This is a story about princess Anna, who helped her sister, Queen Elsa to learn how to control her super power, so that they can both play together again.

Yes, it does take some time, but it is worth it.


Let’s do another one.

Who?  Dusty.

What is Dusty?  He is a crop duster plane.

Is Dusty a racing plane?  No.

What happen?  Every one laugh at him.  Because he is a crop duster plane.

What is Dusty dream?  He wants to race in a race.

Who won?  Dusty.

Super Summary ==> This is a story about how a crop duster plane, Dusty race and win the Wings Across the Globe Race.


Oh ya, you got to use the word “Super” in Super Summary to make it sound very excited.  HaHaa…

Next paragraph, then, you guide him a little to write the “Longer Version” of the story.  What do you want to write?

5.  Emmet is an ordinary construction worker…

6.  Emmet is not a super hero.  He is not a master builder….

7.  Emmet build a funny looking double decker couch.

8.  His friends all laugh at him.

9.  When his friends are in danger, it is the funny looking double decker couch that save them all.

10.  Emmet shows that even an ordinary guy can become a master builder.

11.  His friend Wyldstyle start to ask all ordinary people to become master builders.  Changing ice cream truck into flying machine…

12.  Finally, they defeated Lord Business.  And Save the world.

This is where they learn to do a longer summary of the story.  They have to learn how to pick the stories and put all them together.

Ask them to remember what is the fun things, or funny things in the story, and elaborate from there.

Make them stand on the stage to give out that idea.

hmmm…. double decker couch.

hmmm…. ice cream truck that can fly.

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Lastly, the most important thing of all….

13.  What did you learn from the book?

Actually after you have done step 1-12, Jay has already have a good idea of what he wants to write.

Any ordinary guy can become a master builder as long as you willing to use your brain to imagine and hardwork.

Yeap, he got the idea of the story.

Re-interate it thru the story of Frozen and Planes. 

And let the production begins!

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30 minutes later.  This is is very first book review.

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So, I taught him the most important of all is “What have you learned from the story books?”

You can learn a good behaviour from it.  You can learn good knowledge from it too.

For example, I took out the Geronimo Stilton story books about Niagara Falls, and asked him what has he learned.

He stumbled a while, and give up.

So, I gave him some examples… You learned how to build a camp, and starts a camp fire.  You learned what to bring in your bag when you go camping.

Oh Ya!  That is what he needs to find from all the books.

That is why I flipped thru the pages of Geronimo Stilton book before I bought to see what kind of knowledge I want the kids to learn and what I think he is interested to learn.  

I know Jay Jay appreciates all this great time spending together to discuss how to write the journal.  And I know he learned it bits by bits.  

I don’t expect for him to become expert right away.   But, at least for a role of daddy, I have done my very best to teach him in the way that what I think he could benefit.

One last thing… you will see there are a few mistakes in grammar in the journal.  Don’t point it out to him.  Let the teacher do that.  His teacher will circle and reminded him why he cannot write “a ordinary construction worker” things like that.  HaHaHa.  He will benefit more that way.

So, when you teach your kids, it is not necessary that you tell him all the answers.  Guide him the way to answers and let him work out the answers himself.  

Do not correct all his mistakes.  Only correct his concepts.

Leave those grammar mistakes for them to be spotted by teachers.

Teacher can do a better job in teaching our kids those grammar mistakes.

And they will remember.

“It is awesome to lose”… Kids has to learn how to lose, how to make mistakes.  And this will be great opportunity.  Parents and teachers will work together to make them learn.

So, from now on, he knows whenever he needs to write a book review it will always be the same format…

[First Paragraph]

1.  Where you get the book.

2.  What is the title of the book.

3.  Who is the author and publisher.

4.  what it the SUPER SUMMARY of the story.

[Second Paragraph]

5.  Tell me the story.  (short).

6.  More details.  What you think is funny?  What you think is important?  Is it really important?

[Last Paragraph]

7.  What have I learned from reading the book. 

So, this is also a way to teach him that, only read books that you can learn something from.  So, next time, whenever he picks up a book to read, I will ask him to give a SUPER SUMMARY.  Ask him what is the story about?  And what has he learned from the book.

Welcome to THE NEXT STAGE of learning.

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