Here is the hit: most disagreed with me and allow the posting of negative
reviews. A thought-perhaps some of the smaller schools have a little more
time to discuss student reactions both positive and negative. I have a lot
of students so it seems a little overwhelming.
I tried hard to include all of the thoughtful responses.
Would love to hear your thoughts...I like to have students write book
reviews for our Destiny catalog as an end of year activity-gives me time to
edit them over the summer. One of my directives is that they can only do a
positive review, i.e. 4 or 5 stars. My reasoning is that if they write
something negative about a book it will discourage other readers. And that
the library has all kinds of books for all kinds of readers.
Yesterday, a thoughtful young man (but one who asks odd sort of naive
questions) asked me why I felt that there should not be negative reviews. I
had a small group with me-my library squad volunteer helpers so one of the
"with it" young ladies answered for me.
What are your thoughts-for those who do this activity with Destiny-do you
allow negative reviews?
Thank you in advance.
Millburn Middle School
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"Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of
an ignorant nation." Walter Cronkite
No bad reviews because one man's trash is another man's treasure. If
someone read a bad review of a book they might not pick it up and it might
have turned out to be their favorite book.
I don't tell them no bad reviews is a rule. If 4 - 5 kids say they want to
write a negative review of the same book, I read it and decide whether to
keep it or not.
I think my replay would be that I do not buy any books for my library that
have a negative review. Plus, they should not be writing reviews unless it
is a positive one. If it is negative review, they should have to recommend
another similar book to the readers.
I may be in the minority but I don't censor any reviews. Nor do I edit
them. I simply don't have time and I want thereviews to be a place that
they "own". I do tell them that I will delete any inappropriate reviews --
language, mentioning other kids, personal agendas, etc. The kids are not
identified as the writer of reviews - just their initials. I do moderate
the reviews and don't publish until I see them. I am at the middle school
I allow negative reviews. They are often warranted. If I notice a pattern
of negativity, I will edit.
It should be a sum positive experience, meaning if they didn't like the book,
they must be able to give a reasoned response, and to recommend a logical
alternative to the reader of the review. "I don't like dog books" or "it
was boring" is not enough.
We *do* allow negative reviews in our district, as long as they are
well-intentioned to keep other readers from wasting time on a book that
disappoints. (The writer can't just say that the book "sucks" or "wasn't
interesting," but must defend his/her opinion!)
You might even take it one step further and state that students will be
allowed to write negative reviews IF their review is well-argued AND
recommends a different book, instead.
I allow negative reviews because sometimes those are the best written and
most creative! It sparked a great discussion one year when I looked up
Beowulf on my SmartBoard, and read the mostly one starreviews. The teacher
had assigned it, and had no idea students disliked it so much. They were
afraid to mention it in class, but were very expressive in their reviews!
I always read the reviews before posting, and discuss what a helpful review is.
I won't post anything that just says "I didn't like it" or "I loved it".
There needs to be some substance to the review.
I will allow negative reviews, but I do make sure I look through them
before I approve it to go "live." Also, I tell them there needs to be a
good explanation behind their rating (good or bad). For example, they
can't just say, "it sucks!" or even "I don't like vampire books." There
had to be a reasoning beyond their personal taste. In other words, it had
to be a legit review!
IF, and only if, they have backed their score with some good reasons, I
allow it! CAn't really help the star ratings without comments, but that's
I allow negative reviews: I think there's definitely a place for them. But
students have to give a reason why they are not being positive; they have
to point to something specific they didn't like and say why. And we talk
about being honest about what you didn't like without disparaging it, and
making it seem as though no one would like it. I try to use it as a lesson
in exactly what you're talking about: the idea of very diverse tastes, and
that we can disagree about things honestly and respectfully without hurting
feelings; and without allowing their feelings to be hurt.
I hope this is helpful.
It seems to me this is a beautiful opportunity to show students how
different books appeal to different reader types. What is a "good" book for
a reader with Jokester characteristics may not be a "good" book for a
reader with Joan of Arc characteristics.
What a great place to teach children that everyone doesn't see and process
the world in an identical way. We are wired differently and the pacing,
the plot line, the atmosphere, the setting, and on will have a great "fit"
for some folks and feel really "off" for others.
Every now and then I wander over to Goodreads to see what has been written
about a new book and it never ceases to amaze me when I see someone give a
book five stars and someone give it a Did Not Finish. We are just so
And we would love to have your students add their voices and opinions to
abookandahug.com if that works for you. They simply go to the book of
their choice and then write their review in the User Review section.
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