Learning from strong examples
Looking for evidence and examples
Revising to meet publishing criteria
Who we are and what we do
The Spaghetti Book Club develops confident readers and writers through writing and publishing book reviews.
The Spaghetti Book Club is a fun and engaging literacy program that teaches kids reading comprehension and writing skills through writing, illustrating, and publishing book reviews.
We are dedicated to developing confident readers and writers and encouraging kids' love for reading by giving them an opportunity to think criticallly about the books they read and share their insights, thoughts, and opinions with a global community of readers.
Publishing online is a powerful motivator and reward; students do their best work when they write for their peers and know that their thoughts and opinions will be heard. It is a thrill for kids to see their reviews online and become published writers.
Our website is the largest site of book reviews written and illustrated by kids for kids. Read our reviews or join and submit your own!
"I get the feeling that it is run by caring people who love reading and who want children to love reading, too.”
Why we do what we do
Kids love reading when they understand and can make meaningful connections to what they read.
We want kids to love reading and feel confident as readers and writers. We want them to love getting lost in a book, wonder and predict what is going to happen next, be curious about characters and events in stories, and make meaningful connections and insights to what they read. Our goal is for kids to learn about themselves, others, and life through reading and writing.
Having strong reading comprehension skills is essential to developing a life-long love for reading. When kids are engaged in, curious about, and make meaningful connections to what they are reading, it increases their enjoyment of reading, boosts their self-confidence, and helps them become stronger readers. Reading confidence and competence are essential for developing a love for reading and help kids succeed in school and beyond ...
If you have ever read to young children, you know that they predict, question, wonder, discuss, make connections, and share their thoughts and opinions in the most natural and enthusiastic way. These basic reading comprehension skills come naturally to young kids and help them gain a deeper understanding of and connection to what is read.
As kids get older, (often around 4th grade) they read more challenging texts and often have fewer opportunities for direct reading comprehension instruction and meaningful reflection. As a result, kids often lose confidence and interest in reading and view the experience as a chore rather than something to enjoy. Our program provides a way to engage and re-engage kids in reading and develop their confidence as readers.
Reading comprehension strategies must be taught explicitly, practiced often, and become second nature in order for kids to understand what they are reading on a deeper level and develop a life-long love for reading. That’s where the Spaghetti Book Club comes in.
“We cannot teach writing well unless we trust that there is a real, human reason to write.”
How we do it
We make reading, reflecting, and writing about books meaningful, purposeful, and fun!
Our literacy program includes a comprehensive book review writing curriculum and the publishing of student reviews. Memberships are available to schools, after school programs, public libraries, and homeschool groups .
Book Review Curriculum: Reading and Writing for Deeper Understanding
Our book review curriculum includes easy-to-follow lesson plans and publishing criteria that help teachers guide their students through the book review writing process.
Through this process, kids learn, practice, and apply the following essential reading comprehension and writing skills:
- Determining importance
- Formulating and expressing opinions
- Making meaningful connections with the text (to oneself, other texts and the world)
- Using text-based supportive evidence
- Comparing literary works
- Wondering and asking questions
- Making inferences
- Identifying themes and lessons
- Editing and revising
- Writing persuasively
Book Review Publishing: Writing for an Authentic Audience
Publishing students’ book reviews online motivates and inspires kids to do their best work. It gives them an opportunity to write for an authentic audience and for a real purpose. Students are highly motivated and engaged in the writing process when they know their voices and opinions will be heard. Publishing for a global audience makes kids feel like their opinions matter and will have an impact.
This writing and publishing process boosts students’ self-confidence and makes them feel proud as they see themselves as published writers. Many express that they feel "famous". They giggle, smile and are eager to read their own reviews and those of their friends. Reading, reflecting, making connections, and sharing insights is essential to developing a love for reading.
We encourage classes, after school groups, and libraries to host “Publishing Celebrations” to recognize and celebrate the students’ accomplishments.
Publishing Criteria and Meeting Language Arts Standards
What makes our program and website unique is that all reviews must meet our explicit publishing criteria. Students are required to write summaries, formulate and express their opinions with text-based examples and details, and make recommendations.
Our publishing criteria are aligned with many school districts’ English Language Arts (ELA) Standards (including Common Core State Standards), so publishing on our site satisfies ELA standards as well. If reviews do not meet the criteria, teachers are notified, along with an explanation, and students are given an opportunity to revise their reviews and resubmit them. See our FAQ
This writing and revision process is similar to what published authors experience and is what makes participating in the Spaghetti Book Club such a gratifying and rewarding experience.
“The most effective way to engage these students in learning is to create an authentic audience, giving them a sense that someone else (besides teachers and parents) cares about their work. They need to have a vision of a product that matters.”
Benefits of Participating
Participation in the Spaghetti Book Club benefits everyone involved: students, teachers, administrators, public libraries and families.
Students develop confidence as readers, writers, and thinkers. They develop sophisticated ways of understanding, reflecting on, and connecting with what they read. Students feel that their voices and opinions matter and see themselves as members of a larger reading community. Because students’ reviews must meet explicit publishing criteria, they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when their work is approved and published online.
Teachers gain a meaningful and engaging way to help students develop critical reading and writing skills, reach ELA standards, provide an authentic writing experience for students, publish their work online, and build students’ self-confidence as readers and writers.
The Spaghetti Book Club offers school Administrators a school-wide or district-based literacy program to help students become strong and confident readers and writers, and reach ELA standards. It also provides administrators a simple and easy way to publish student work online to highlight students’ learning and accomplishments.
For Public Libraries, our program is a natural add-on to existing Story Time or Book Club programs. Through the Spaghetti Book Club, kids read and discuss books and collaborate on writing a group review or write individual reviews. The children's published book reviews become a valuable resource for library visitors; increasing awareness of the library's children's book collection and highlighting the accomplishments of kids in the community.
Families have a fun and meaningful way to encourage their kids to read and reflect on books at home and become part of a larger reading community. The Spaghetti Book Club also provides an easy way to share accomplishments with family members and friends. What grandparents don't love to see their grandchild’s writing and drawing?
Joining our Community of Readers
Memberships are available to individual classes, schools, districts, after-school programs, public libraries, home school groups, and families. Memberships include:
- Spaghetti Book Club curriculum, including detailed easy-to-follow lesson plans
- Supplemental materials, including an engaging slideshow to accompany lessons, publishing criteria and consent forms
- Publishing of student book reviews and illustrations on the Spaghetti Book Club website
- A class or group home page with students' self portraits and links to their reviews
- Individual student home pages with self-portrait and links to his/her reviews
Student homepages can be carried forward through the grades and become portfolios of their work throughout the years.