Book reports are a school staple, but they're stuck in the past. Why not try turning a book report into a social media book review? In this activity that mixes old with new, your child creates a “tweet” that’s short and sweet, and that captures a book's themes and ideas just as well as a book report.
What You Need:
- Pens or pencils
- Computer and Word document
- Favorite book, or a book that's recently been read
What You Do:
- Your child may have heard of social networking sites like Twitter, but if not, explain that social media is a tool where people can send out messages online. In many cases, these messages can only be a certain length. On Twitter, it’s 140 characters or less.
- Have your child pick one of her favorite books and challenge her to summarize the book in one book review. However, her review must only be 140 characters long! She will need to succinctly summarize the book’s plot and her opinion about the book. For example, a book review for Charlotte’s Web could be: “Wilbur the pig becomes friends with Charlotte the spider. She saves his life. I loved this book!”
- Show your child how to type the review into a Word document and check the character count. Your child can see how many characters are in her review, and if she needs to shorten or lengthen it to get closer to 140 characters. If she has room, she can also add a “hashtag” to sum up her feelings on the book, but the message must still remain within the character limit: “Wilbur the pig becomes friends with Charlotte the spider. Great book but sad ending. Loved it anyway! #adorable #tearjerker”.
- Try adapting this to other famous social media sites: Your child can add an Instagram illustration, or try writing a Facebook status update from one of the book’s characters that states their point of view. She can read her tweet book review aloud to friends interested in the book. If she enjoyed the activity, she can write more tweet book reviews, practicing the art of writing, editing, and summarizing succinctly!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.