Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Critic's Choice

Jill Blonder


Students read three to five genres and choose one as his or her favorite. Students write an essay persuading the class to read the genre.


The student uses a variety of reading materials to develop personal preferences in reading.

The student selects and uses appropriate formats for writing, including narrative, persuasive, and expository formats, according to the intended audience, purpose, and occasion.


-Poetry books
-Novels from school media center


1. Prior knowledge of short story elements will be needed.
2. Each student will need a journal.
3. Provide the class with a large selection of genres.
4. Perhaps instruct this lesson in the media center or library.


Students will write a persuasive essay reflecting their reading preferences.

Authentic Context:
As a print critic, you have been assigned to read two to four different genres of literature including, but not limited to, short stories, novels, mysteries, comedies, tragedies, plays, feature stories, poetry, editorials, children’s literature, classic literature, modern literature, biographies, autobiographies, essays, reports, fairy tales, or reviews.

A response journal will be kept for each selection read.

At deadline, you will choose your favorite genre and explain in detail why the genre and this particular selection earned your “4 -STAR” rating. Then write an essay to persuade your readers to read your “Critic’s Choice”.

1. Students are introduced to the concept of a “critic” by reading three to five literary criticisms from professionals.

2. Students are given a time frame and are expected to choose from a variety of three to five genres and the criticisms from professionals on each genre.

3. Students keep a response journal on each piece read in which they answer focus questions of the teacher’s design. Examples:
* Who is the author?
* What is the title?
* What is the genre?
* When was this piece written?

4. Students keep notes on important information including characters, plot, setting, themes, conflict, resolution, protagonist, antagonist, point-of-view, lessons, morals, and voice. Students should pull quotable phrases and sections from the text that induced a particular response.

5. Send a note to parents explaining the assignment and its criteria, and also enlisting their support and encouragement. The note should be signed by parents and returned to the teacher.

6. Students respond to a self-reflection question or statement at the end of each class session.

7. Collect the journals at least once, depending on how long the reading time is extended, and respond to the students’ writing. This will make sure they are on track and keeping up.

8. Students choose their 4-STAR piece and write a persuasive article following Florida Writes standards using the information from their response journal to provide depth and details.

9. Students turn in their response journal, along with their final “Critic’s Choice” piece.

10. Students select articles to read in class.


There are two assessments for this project.
First: The response journal is assessed by these criteria:
1. Student reads at least five different genres--One genre is teacher assigned, four genres are student selected.
2. Student answers focus questions accurately and completely.
3. Student selects and includes quotes, phrases, and insights.

The “Critic’s Choice” persuasive essay is assessed using the Florida Writes! Rubric (see attached file) as well as -the critic- criteria.

Assessment Solution
The teacher uses the following criteria to assess the essay:

The critic :
1. Identifies and limits the subject
a. Subject matter (fiction, nonfiction, symphony, art work )
b. Genre (mystery, situation comedy, tragedy, play, feature stories)
2. Gathers sufficient information on the topic
a. Reads all the material
b. Takes notes on major points and supporting details
c. Copies down direct quotes that support the notes
3. Organizes information in a logical plan
a. Outlines notes in the sequence of the story's events..
b. Evaluates the work's strengths, as to mood, setting, time, character involvement or passivity, use of words by the author ; e.g.. metaphor, simile, puns, irony, sarcasm
4. Gives the audience an accurate representation of the work's
a. Content
b. Theme
c. Style
5. Describes any special features of the work
a. Gives maps
b. Gives reference notes
c. Gives diagrams, graphs, illustrations, cartoons
6. Provides specific examples that support response; e.g., specific facts, quotes, and information from the previous comments about the work



-Students, using technology, can create and publish a class reading list to be distributed to classmates or the student body at large.

-Students can create a web page on the Internet for sharing information about favorite readings.

-Students can create a “Critic’s Choice” moment on the morning announcements.
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