Anthony, a writer from Online Graduate Programs, reached out to me about writing an article on how book reviews can help students. I thought his post was very informative since I remember when I was in college, all I did was research for my English classes. If I knew blogs existed back then, maybe I would have had better research essays. :)
As a student, or reader, do you think book reviews are helpful? I'd love to hear your thought's on this great discussion.
I hope you enjoy Anthony's article, as much as I did!
How Book Reviews Can Help Students
Whether a student is working on book report in high school, working on a BS degree or even a doctorate in an, time can be more important than money. When writing a paper integrating several sources, researching a paper which only requires one major source, or simply writing a book report, book reviews can be very helpful in saving time by helping a student know what to read. Reading a book review before reading the book can, among other things, insure that the book will provide the information needed before taking the time to read the book.
Book reviews can also be helpful so the student can think about the book in ways they wouldn’t have on their first read through the text. Often, when reading weightier material for an AP high school class or an online graduate program, a student is required to do several things that slow down the process of reading the book, and add more stress through adding more time. A slow read, copious notes, and careful analysis are often required to insure that all of the proper nuances of the material are understood. Reading a book review prior to reading the book itself can save time make in more likely that the book us better understood.
When doing academic research, it can be extremely frustrating to read an entire book only to find out the material in the book is useless for the topic being studied. It is also frustrating for a student who has to write a standard book report to read the entire book hoping they will enjoy it, only to find out several hundred pages later that the book was actually not what they hoped for, then to be forced to write a book report on this book they did not enjoy.
There are various sources that help find book reviews to allow the student to know more about the book they are going to read, or if they actually need to read that book or find another source. For regular school projects, La Femme Readers offers reviews on many books for young adults, which can be really useful especially to those who are looking for books to read for elective assignments. The ratings for books in la femme reader from one to five, as well as the summary, are really great tools that allow potential readers to decide to read or not to read, and saves time.
Book review sites cannot only help student learn about books they might want to read, but some also offer review questions and study guides about the book to insure that the student learned what was necessary when reading the book. These reviews and review questions can also help graduate students or anyone who will be required to provide instruction on books that students are reading. One of the more difficult aspects of teaching a book to others, especially the first time, is staying ahead of the students and feeling confident that the students are learning enough, but book reviews and study guides can be helpful for teachers to keep track of their progress.
The National Policy Education Center offers more academic book reviews focused on material for college students. These reviews are available in a variety of languages, and on this website, several university presses are available via web-links. There are also helpful materials and reviews organized by different academic subjects. The National Policy Education Center can also be useful to graduate assistants if they are required to assign reading for students.
Because students are extremely busy, it can be useful to read book reviews before reading the book. Whether the purpose of reading the book review is to insure that the student will enjoy the book for a book report, or whether a doctoral student wants to insure that the book will be useful when teaching or researching for their dissertation, the book review is an under-utilized educational tool for students. Fortunately there are resources available like La Femme Readers, for students to find book reviews right for them.
Anthony recently completed his graduate education in English Literature. A New Mexico native, he currently resides and writes in Seattle, Washington. He writes primarily about education, travel, literature, and American culture.