Lesson Plan (Continued): Comparing Three Reviews

Lesson Plan: Writing REVIEWS starts here


People want to get something in exchange for their money and time. As the critic, your review should explain specifically what value the product offers to the consumer—or, in the case of a negative review, what the product lacks.


  • –  is NOT simply a summary of the story.
  • –  is NOT about your personal experience with or preference for the product.


REVIEW #1 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’m 13 now but I was 12 years old when I first read this book. I’d never really been into books at that point in my life, but my mom gave it to me anyhow and one weekend my cousin was supposed to sleep over but then she couldn’t. I was really bored but then I thought I’d read this book because the main character was around the same age as me so I thought I’d be more interested in it. I got sucked in to a world of exciting magic and wizards and I even reread this book a couple of times, that’s how much I liked it. I would recommend it to anybody.

REVIEW #2 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

This novel is about Harry Potter. He is an orphan and when he’s eleven years old he discovers that he’s really a wizard and that when he was younger an evil wizard killed his parents and tried to kill Harry too but Harry survived. Harry gets invited to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He makes friends with other students and meets many creatures in the wizard world and has some trouble with the school’s headmaster and then gets into a battle with the evil wizard who killed his parents. This is a very exciting book and I really think everybody will like it.

REVIEW #3 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (book 1) by J.K. Rowling

Although this novel is aimed at young teen readers, children and adults alike will enjoy this delightful adventure from the award-winning British author J.K. Rowling. After years of neglect at the hands of his aunt and uncle, young orphan Harry Potter suddenly learns he is a wizard and must attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Most surprising of all, Harry learns he is a legend in the witch world because he survived an attack years ago by an evil sorcerer. And so the fun begins, with Harry going off to a magical school filled with enchantment, suspense and danger galore! Rowling creates a range of intriguing characters, from Harry’s new boarding school friends to a cast of creepy wizard-world creatures. Some of those characters may be a little too creepy for very young readers but overall, the storyline manages to be funny, suspenseful, scary, and inspiring – all without ever feeling like the plot is confusing or unfocused. The dialogue is fresh and unique and Rowling writes riveting and imaginative adventure scenes. (You’ll love the magical game of Quidditch and wish you had a flying broom so you could play, too!) This novel is a little over 300 pages long but don’t be surprised if you find yourself reading it all in one sitting because you can’t wait to see what happens next — especially when young Harry finds himself facing an old enemy in an epic battle of good versus evil!

Gina Catanzarite © 2013 All Rights Reserved



NAME:___________________________________________________________________________ date: ___________



  •   Is it worth the money?
  •   Is it worth the time?You are telling the consumer whether the FEATURES & BENEFITS of the product ADD UP TO A GOOD VALUE. For instance, think about a car commercial. It might talk about the different features and benefits of the car.


    It has air bags (feature) so the car is safe (benefit.)
    It has heated seats (feature) so the car is more comfortable (benefit.)

    What if the feature does not live up to the benefit it promises? Then it doesn’t offer much value to the audience. Provide specific examples in your unfavorable review.

Consider some of these commonly-reviewed products and list FEATURES & BENEFITS you can mention in a review.

  •   EXAMPLE: MOVIES & TV SHOWS: Star power? A satisfying storyline? Great editing? Great special effects? Biglaughs? A good soundtrack?
  •   BOOKS:
  •   MUSIC CD:
  •   TRAVEL:
  •   PRODUCTS (e.g. phone, car, appliance, et al):


Catanzarite, Gina. Original lecture material and handouts adapted from Teen Writer! Blogs, Reviews, Commentaries and Essays— for Teen Writers with Attitude. Luminari, Inc. summer camps held in Pittsburgh, Pa. July, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

“Criticism.” The Pulitzer Prizes. n.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2013. http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat/Criticism Fink, Conrad. Writing Opinion for Impact Second Edition. Blackwell Publishing, Iowa. 2004. Chapter 9.

Critic’s Notebook: What to Look for at the Movies (Adaptable for


Hathaway Tantillo, MJE, Susan. Ideas and Techniques for Reviews. PowerPoint distributed for Kent State University Reporting for Mass Media, Week 12: The Writing Process. Fall 2011.

Kibler, Valerie. Discussion Board Post Week 11 Thread 3: Let’s Brainstorm. Kent State University Editorial Writing. Spring 2013. Posted April 1, 2013, 6:52 PM.

Harrower, Tim. “Writing a Film Review.” Inside Reporting: A Practical Guide to the Craft of Journalism. 3rd ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2007.

Gina Catanzarite © 2013 All Rights Reserved