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Why Book reviews by kids? “Peer learning may appear passive but it is highly effective,” says Sharmishtha Chawda

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Bookosmia Spotlight

Hey friends, Sara here. Today I chat up with Sharmishtha Chawda,
Education Entrepreneur and Facilitator- Young Orators and Young Horizons and much more. Under her mentorship, students at Young Orators not only write beautifully but also are some of the most read  young writers on our platform globally!

Here are her thoughts and tips for parents on how to encourage and amplify these young voices.

Why Book reviews by kids? “Peer learning may appear passive but it is highly effective,” says Sharmishtha Chawda

 

Sara: How do you motivate parents to demonstrate the appreciation their child rightfully deserves on being published?

 

Sharmishtha: Firstly, I would like compliment the entire team of Bookosmia  for creating this platform for young minds. I am always touched with the child- friendly and encouraging approach that the team adopts towards the child’s works. Most parents feel overwhelmed with the adulation their children get from your end. So, honestly, it’s not too hard to motivate the parents because they are themselves exhilarated to see their children’s works being published.

 

I definitely encourage them to share the works with the child’s school and among their social circles. The exposure to today’s world of social media and  the openness of communication with parents and peers has given wings to  the child’s creativity. I have seen very unique perspectives emerging, especially from very young minds. They are not shy of exploring and experimenting. And, when these thoughts in the form of essays, poems, art make it to the pages of such a premier platform, it is a great boost for them.

 

Parents of all my students are closely in touch with me and they take great  pride in seeing their child’s name on a global publishing platform

 

Sara: The book reviews by your students stand-out. Tell us what makes a good book review and what tips can you share with those who want to learn to write better reviews? 

 

Sharmishtha: Thank you, Sara! I ask my students to approach the review of  the book as an extension of their reading experience. It gives them an  opportunity to revisit the book and ponder over its nuances like the plot, the  pace, the characterization, the special moments in the story, the author’s style of writing. This prepares them to look at the book beyond casual reading.

 

I always prepare them mentally before they start writing their reviews. It is  important to develop an insightful perspective towards the book and use it to  build your review. I do guide them with a broad format to follow but prompt  them to use their creativity and imagination in building the review. Students
often tend to get trapped in story narration and that’s always a big no-no. An overview of the book (while refraining from giving out spoilers��..) that  gives a sneak peek to a reader about the book along with some highlights and  a critical analysis makes for an impactful review.

 

One can make it more interesting by beginning or closing the review with some relevant words by a significant character from the book or a quote
by the author him/herself.

 

 

Sara: How does one choose a book for review? Is there such a thing as only  bestsellers make for catchy reviews? 

Sharmishtha: That’s a very common question asked by my students. My approach here depends upon the age of the child and how much the student  has been reading. For very young children and new readers, I prefer they stick to positive reviews. So, they usually choose bestsellers or popular books. I  believe that to be able to touch upon negative aspects of a book, you need to be deeply into the art of reading. Only then you can be eligible to critique a  book.

 

To answer your question, I do urge older students to explore to the flip side of  the book also. Thus, choosing any book and not just a bestseller can make for an excellent review.

 

 

Sara: Do you think there is an audience for book reviews especially those by young writers? Do they serve a purpose? 

 

Sharmishtha: We often have books review sessions at Young Orators. I have  observed that when parents or educators will recommend some books,  students will not pick them up as fast as they would when reviewed and  recommended by another student. Peer learning may appear passive but it is highly effective.

 

When a young writer reviews a book, the relevant age group can relate to it  better. Also, sometimes, new insights emerge from young writers as their perspectives are fresh and contemporary. The audience for young book  reviewers is growing and must be encouraged further.

Bookosmia has taken the lead in this and I am sure it will catapult the growth  of young critics and their readers.

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About Sharmishtha Chawda:  Having dabbled in various industries like  pharmaceutical, human resources,  advertising and events, I am an educator by accident. Though the latent love for teaching lay deep within, the active passion for languages, reading and  writing sparked the idea of designing an English language development and  public speaking programme for school children. And thus, Young Orators  programme came into being.

 

Here are various initiatives I am involved with-

  • Education Entrepreneur and Facilitator- Young Orators and Young Horizons
  • Founder and Event Designer- Insync Events and Sanskaaram, a musical events firm for the past 12 years
  • State Coordinator- Marrs International Spelling Bee
  • Club Advisor- TED-Ed Clubs NYC- Young Orators India

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