Twitter Style Book Review Lesson

Sweet Tweets About Good Reads

Here's an idea for a fun tech-social-media infused creative writing lesson and one I'll be sure to mention when I'm guest hosting the Twitter #EngChat event May 23rd at 7pm EST. The topic will be The Power of the Product and I'll be hosting with amazing MHMS co-worker Elizabeth Singleton (@emsingleton). This conversation will consist of viable, creative, meaningful, and daring products that demonstrate information mastery, go beyond the regular research report and span the digital divide.
On this second blog posting in one day (assuredly a first!) I must give a very special thank you to reading specialist & MHMS co-worker Deb Burkey! You inspired & gave me this idea during our conversation the other day talking about the Fakebook lesson. YAY, you rock! The text is written as directions to students.

Writing a short, concise, quality book review is a challenge! Using the Twitter style, create a short book review that hints at the story, not give TOO much away - add a shortened link to the Amazon book listing (for more information, buying, and expanded book reviews) and your emotion rating.=D
If you cannot say something in 140 characters or less, then it is not worth saying. Paring a review down to 140 characters and a rating really forces reviewers to get to the essential appeal or flaw of the work being reviewed --AND it's a challenge!
Here are some examples:

Full lesson on our MHMS Learning Wikipage
How to:
To do this activity, go to our learning wiki by typing in the Google top right search box "mhms learning" we're the first hit...go to the wikipage for this lesson & get ready to have more than one window or tab open to do this. If you like multitasking, then this is the lesson for you!

1. Choose a YA book to review *you have read* (non-negotiable!)
2. Go to Amazon Books and search for your book, SAVE the URL
3. Shorten the Amazon URL using! Copy that URL

4. Go to Character Creator & Paste the shortened URL
5. Add your review Emoticon at the very end.
In keeping with SMS Social Media culture, the four ratings are emoticons:
=D for Squee! I LOVED it!
=) for It was good - not Great!
=| for Meh...I guess it was just OK.
=( GAH! Did NOT like it a bit!

6. Write your Review in FRONT OF the URL & Emoticon
external image 5723027377_504fe35335.jpg

Cut out words that are unnecessary - re-word, re-think, re-write, re-mix, & be creative! Hints: use "&" rather than the word AND, dashes as breaks, but try NOT to write in leet speak. Like "OMG, UR going to h8 this book" There are times for that kind of informal text - but not for this activity :-O

If you want to post these Tweet reviews to your school Twitter account you can also add the hashtag #booktweet before the emoticon review so that they can be searched (this is optional since Twitter is blocked by HCPSS :-(

Did you do all that and you're under 140 characters? AWEsome!

7. CUT and PASTE your Tweet review from the Character Counter and put into a Word document, save it as your first initial & last name + bookreview EX. "GJonesBookReview" Don't forget to add your name on the top of the word doc and save to your documents folder &
if instructed to do so, turn this into your teacher via the Hand In folder (MHMS only)

ALTERNATIVE Google Form Submission idea: Create a Google form & embed in wikipage for kids to submit their Twitter Style Book Reviews - share that Google doc with all your teachers who are working with this lesson!

Want to teach this lesson with your kids? Go to our MHMS Learning Wiki!! Link to, or copy the wikipage (with attribution please) onto your wikipage!

Inspired by Twitter, this lesson idea & posting, and for my deep admiration for the amazing work of Icon Factory artist & creator of the Twitter Bird, Ollie David Lanham who created my beloved cartoon avatar - I bought Ollie the Twitterific Bird toy today! YAY!
Creative Commons License
Twitter Style Book Reviews by Gwyneth A. Jones - The Daring Librarian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

Like that CC license? Check out the interactive Creative Commons License Generator!


  1. I LOOOOVE this idea, Gwyneth. I've GOT to convince my teachers to do a project like this! And, as always with your blog postings, your graphics jump off the page and inspire me. :)

  2. Gwyneth, this is dangerously close to being relevant to the world in which your students live and hope to work. Learning to write concisely? To convey meaningful thoughts without losing your audience? Sure, that's important to every day life and actually a critical skill for many employers. But if they instead spend this time memorizing state capitals, it will really come in handy if they ever find themselves on Jeopardy and find that's a category.

  3. Hey Jane! Thank you so much for your kind words! Let me know how it goes if your teachers do this - feedback will help improve the idea! Cheers!


    Thanks Mark for your comment, you really got me loling on a Monday morning! Imagine, teaching kids to write meaningful thoughts that may impact their future career writing....CRAZY! [snarf]

  4. What a fantastic idea. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hope its OK that I add this fabulous idea to my brochure for my ISTE2011 poster session: Using Technology to promote YA literature!

  6. Thank you Joanne aka the SkypingReadingTutor! I'm glad you like it!

    Collette, just left a comment on your blog, but yes! I'd be tickled & flattered to be included in your awesome #ISTE11 poster session! And as a member of the ISTE board it will be both my duty & pleasure to come by and thank you for your hard work at ISTE! Double win! Cheers!

  7. I love this idea and have been holding onto it for a long time to use in my library. Can you tell me how you made the "Twitter Style Book Reviews" picture at the top of you post so that I can make one for my library webpage?

  8. Hi K!
    I created that graphic with Photoshop but you're more than welcome to take my graphic & use it on your blog (keeping my attribution) it's creative commons! Cheers!

  9. Fantastic idea! Thank you for sharing.

  10. I had my book group write 140 character reviews a couple of years ago. We put them on bookmarks with a pic of the book cover. Elizabeth

  11. Me again! Is the picture of just the bird "tweetie1_ollie" cc? I would love to use it too!
    Thanks! Katie

  12. Such a cool idea. Will def use in my 9th grade humanities class! Any more web 2.0/learning mash up ideas?

  13. thank you for the wonderful idea. would like to try it out.
    it will definitely liked by the students.

  14. Thank you so much for your comment Cordy! I am so glad you like the idea! DO Tweet at me mentioning this comment so I can make sure to follow you back! Cheers!

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