First, some background. I’ll admit it: my 3rd grade students don’t write the best reviews on Destiny. In fact, over half of them are not just bad, they are awful. It’s been eating at me all year, and it is up to me to fix the problem. I’ve reflected on my teaching, thought back on all the professional development I’ve had, and consulted my favorite librarian colleague. It was then that I realized that maybe I don’t want them to review a book…maybe I want a thoughtful sentence about why they like a book (since that’s all they ever talk about anyways). And maybe I want them to think about questions they still have when the book is over (questioning leads to deeper understanding and comprehension). And maybe I want them to think about who this book is best for – to be able to thoughtfully suggest it to another person.
That’s when I went back to a strategy my school used 3 years ago called TAG: Tell what you like, Ask a question, Give a suggestion. Originally used in writing workshop to encourage student interaction, I modified the strategy to work in my library. I created a nifty poster that I am filling in each week that I introduce a component of TAG (here is my TAG-PDF). And even though I’m aiming to improve the Destiny reviews of my 3rd graders, I’m using the strategy with my 2nd graders as well. If they can learn how to write a thoughtful response to a book now, it’ll only help them next year. Right?!