Learning from strong examples
Looking for evidence and examples
Revising to meet publishing criteria
About the Spaghetti Book Club
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.
Our program develops confident readers and writers and encourages kids' love for reading by giving them an opportunity to make meaningful connections with the books they read and share their insights, thoughts, and opinions with a global community of readers. Publishing online is a huge motivator and reward for kids. It is a thrill for them to see their work published online! (Read more about us)
By participating in the Spaghetti Boook Club, students learn how to:
- Write strong summaries
- Construct meaning from text
- Make personal connections to what they read
- Formulate and express their opinions
- Compare literary works
- Use text-based evidence to support ideas
- Make inferences and find lessons
- Revise their writing using details and examples
- Write for a purpose
- Write persuasively
- Write and publish for an intended audience
Afterschool membership includes our comprehensive book review writing curriculum and the publishing of student book reviews and illustrations.
Book Review Curriculum
Our curriculum includes easy-to-follow lesson plans and all the materials necessary to guide students through the book review writing process. Lesson include:
- What is a book review? Deconstructing a book review and learning its components and purpose
- How to write a summary- How to write enough to get the reader interested without telling too much. Avoiding spoilers
- What is an opinion? Formulating and expressing opinions using supportive evidence
- Recommendations- Making recommendations considering audience and content
- Revising to meet publishing criteria- Clarifying; adding details and examples.
- Optional lessons: Getting the reader’s attention. How to write a great hook. Using a thesaurus to use more interesting language.
- Mini Lesson: Reading and discussing examples from our site to learn the elements of a book review: summaries, opinions and recommendations
- Group Work: Modeling and practicing how to write book reviews by collaborating on a group review
- Independent Work: Applying what was learned by writing individual reviews
- Sharing reviews for peer feedback
- Revising and editing to meet publishing criteria
Each lesson follows a consistent format:
Lessons can be easily adapted to fit into any afterschool program.
Book Review Publishing
Submitting book reviews is easy through our online forms. Teachers simply copy and paste their students’ reviews into our online forms and either attach scanned artwork or mail illustrations for us to scan. Consent forms may be faxed, emailed or sent through regular mail. For more information on submitting reviews, see our FAQ.
Meeting Publishing Criteria and English Language Arts Standards:
What makes our program unique is that all reviews are read by our staff and must meet our publishing criteria in order to be published on our site. We provide a checklist and questions to help students write and revise their reviews to meet our publishing criteria. If reviews do not meet our publishing criteria students are given the opportunity to revise and resubmit their reviews. This submission, review, revision, and approval process is similar to what published authors experience and is what makes publishing a gratifying and rewarding experience. For more on the submission and approval process and our publishing criteria, see our FAQ.
Our publishing criteria are aligned with English Language Arts (ELA) Standards including Common Core State Standards. Our criteria require students to write summaries, formulate and express their opinions with text-based examples and details, and make recommendations. ELA Standards require that students are able to understand and respond to literature, including the ability to analyze, infer, compare, critique, and express opinions on literary work using text-based evidence. When students meet our publishing criteria they are meeting ELA 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 FAQs
When all reviews meet our publishing criteria, they are published within five business days of receiving reviews, artwork and consent forms. Afterschool programs receive a homepage featuring the students’ self-portraits and links to their reviews, and students get their own homepage with links to their reviews.
We encourage afterschool programs to host Publishing Celebrations to recognize and celebrate the students’ hard work and accomplishments. For more about Publishing Celebrations, see our FAQ.
- Book Review Curriculum
- Slideshow to accompany lessons
- Animated DIY Book Review Guide
- Publishing Criteria
- Consent forms
- Group home page
- Student home pages
- Publishing of book reviews and illustrations
Afterschool Membership Includes
Afterschool Membership Options
"What is unusual about the project is that students really engage excitedly in the process of writing and revision. Even in the after-school hours, nearly all the participants observed were actively engaged in revising and improving reviews they'd already begun.”