Frequently Asked Questions
Members of the Spaghetti Book Club have access to our book review writing curriculum and online forms to submit their students’ reviews. Our curriculum helps teachers lead students through the book review writing process, including how to write effective and thorough summaries, opinions and recommendations. When reviews are complete, educators upload them to our website. Illustrations are either scanned and uploaded or sent to us to scan (depending on membership type). Our staff reads the submitted reviews and if they meet our publishing criteria, the reviews are published on our site.
You do not need to use our curriculum or lesson plans; however, your students’ reviews must meet our publishing criteria in order to be published on our site. We provide a checklist that includes a list of the required book review components, as well as questions to prompt students and help them meet the criteria. If you don't use our curriculum, we strongly suggest that you use our checklist as a guide when revising your reviews and as a final check before submitting them.
We accept reviews of books that have been published and are available to kids through a public library or can be purchased online. We accept reviews of books that are secular in nature.
In order to be published on our site, all reviews must include a summary, opinion and recommendation.
Summaries must include enough information to describe what the story is about, including a description of the main characters and important events in the story. We generally do not accept one sentence summaries or summaries that retell the entire story. Most reviews that are accepted have summaries that fall somewhere in between.
Opinions In the opinion section, students must include at least three different reactions, opinions, or reflections with supportive text-based examples or details. Older students are required to include additional opinions and insights - fourth through sixth grade students must include four parts, sixth grade students and higher must include at least five parts. Examples of opinions/reflections include whether the reviewer liked the book and why; a part of the story that made an impression and why; a favorite character and why; and/or the lessons learned or author’s message.
Recommendations should, at the least, include what type of reader or audience would be interested in reading the book and why.
Grammar and punctuation. Reviews MUST be proof-read for grammar and punctuation. If we find more than three reviews that have obvious grammar and punctuation errors we will return all reviews to be proof-read and resubmitted.
For strong examples of reviews that meet our criteria, please see the "Featured Reviews" section on our site
All submitted reviews are read by our staff. If more than three reviews from a class/group do not meet our publishing criteria, we notify the teacher/educator and inform them why each review does not meet the criteria. Teachers are asked to proof-read the rest of their submitted reviews, have students make necessary revisions, and resubmit them. When all reviews from the class/group have been approved, they will be published.
If only one or two reviews need revisions, the teacher is informed so that those students can make the necessary revisions. When the reviews are resubmitted and approved, all the reviews will be published.
The best way to ensure that all reviews meet our publishing criteria is to use our checklist and strong examples we provide in our curriculum.
This submission and approval process is similar to what published authors experience and is part of what makes publishing such a gratifying and rewarding experience.
We believe that all students can meet our publishing criteria. For students who need extra support, we provide worksheets that include sentence starters that all students should be able to complete with some assistance. For example:
I liked this book because _______________________________.
My favorite part was ____________________ because ___________.
This book made me think of/wonder about ________ because _____________.
I recommend this book to (readers who like) __________ because ____________.
We also recommend taking dictation from students who need additional support.
All reviews are entered and submitted through our online forms. We do not accept hard copies of reviews. The process is detailed below:
- Teachers enter their class list including students’ names, screen names, and birth dates (used to calculate age). This process takes less than a minute per student.
- Teachers enter student book reviews by copying and pasting reviews that have been typed and saved on school computers or shared drive. Reviews of books not in our database will require inputting the title, author, and illustrator of the book. Entering book reviews takes less than a minute per review if they are already typed and saved.
- Reviews can be revised and edited online and are submitted when all class/group reviews are complete. Digital/scanned artwork is submitted as attachments with the reviews, or original work is sent through regular mail (depending on type of membership).
- Consent forms may be scanned and emailed, faxed or sent through regular mail. Illustrations for Standard+ Memberships are sent in the mail with the consent forms.
- If all reviews and illustrations meet our publishing criteria, they will be published within one week of receipt of reviews, illustrations and consent forms.
Book reviews do not have to include illustrations but we strongly suggest that they are included. Illustrations provide important visual information and details about the story that enhance the review and are especially helpful for younger readers.
Reviews are published within five business days of receipt of the reviews, illustrations and consent forms if all reviews meet our publishing criteria.
Hosting a publishing celebration is a wonderful way for kids to share their reviews with family members, friends, and members of the community. Publishing celebrations offer an exciting way to recognize the kids’ hard work and accomplishments. Seeing their faces beaming with pride while sharing their reviews is a thrill for all who attend. It is a huge confidence boost for the kids and a wonderful way to bring a community together to celebrate the reviewers and the joys of reading.
Publishing celebrations can be hosted in many different ways. We recommend allowing each child to read his/her review to the invited guests. Guests are encouraged to ask questions and share encouraging feedback with the reviewers.
Schools, afterschool programs and public libraries can create a link from their web sites to their Spaghetti Book Club web page so that the kids’ reviews can be easily accessed. Student book reviews become a valuable resource to other readers in the class, school, and larger community.
School and class memberships are valid for the school year they are purchased for. Memberships are not rolled over into the next school year unless there are extenuating circumstances (for example, pandemics or lengthy school closures). We encourage all teachers to use their memberships during the school year for which they are purchased.
Classes with an end-of-the-year date in June, must submit their reviews by May 15th to allow time if revisions are necessary. Schools with year-round schedules or schools in the southern hemisphere should plan to submit reviews two weeks prior to their last day of school. All other programs do not have deadlines; however, all reviews must be sumbitted within the time frame of their membership.