Book review

You will write a review of a textbook.  Your review should be 5-8 double-spaced pages in length and should offer a brief summary of the text, as well as discussion of the text’s audience and purpose, major theoretical underpinnings /values, strengths, and limitations. The review should offer a clear account of your sense of this text’s pedagogical value, and why. The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience assessing a textbook designed to assist in the teaching of writing, as you will likely be responsible for selecting a textbook in the future. Depending on how current the book you review, you may also consider submitting this review to a journal for publication Possible Books to Consider/Resources: Applebee, A. N., & Langer, J. A. (2015). Writing instruction that works: Proven methods for middle and high school classrooms. Teachers College Press. Components of a Book Review A. Give complete bibliographical information at the top of the page (title, author, publisher, place of publication, date of publication, number of pages, and name of reviewer). Use the following format: Toward Rediscovering the Old Testament, by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, l987. 250 pages. Reviewed by Randy C. Slocum. B. Briefly state the reason this book was chosen for review. State the author’s credentials (education, place of employment, previous achievements, etc.) as a preface to giving the book a serious hearing. Biographical information about the author should be included only as it demonstrates the author’s competency to write the book. Within the context of the paper, do not use titles (Dr., Rev., etc.). In most brief reviews, you will likely need to limit the introduction to one or two paragraphs. C. Briefly (in one or two well-written sentences) summarize the thesis of the book. This is a crucial step because the thesis contains the reason why the author produced this particular book (there may be dozens on the market with similar subject matter). The thesis will state the author’s basic presuppositions and approach. The critical nature of the book review will then grow from the reviewer’s conclusion that the book does or does not achieve the author’s stated purpose. D. The main body of a critical book review will be concerned with “thesis development.” That is, did the author achieve the stated purpose? In this section the reviewer will inspect each of the chapters of the book to see how the thesis is (or is not) developed. If the author makes progress and develops the thesis convincingly, providing adequate information and statistical data, the reviewer says so, providing concrete examples and citing their page numbers in the text. Given the limited amount of space in a brief book review, footnotes should not be utilized. Quotations or ideas taken directly from the text should be followed parenthetically by the page number of the quotation. The abbreviation for page(s) (p./pp.) should not be used. Questions the reviewer will seek to answer in this section might include: · Is there an adequate, consistent development of the author’s stated thesis? Why or why not? · What is the author’s purpose, i.e., what does he/she hope to accomplish through this book? Does the author accomplish the purpose? If so, how does he/she do so? If not, why not? · Does the author approach the subject with any biases, i.e., do the author’s theological, experiential, philosophical, denominational, or cultural perspectives influence his/her conclusions? · Does the author properly support his/her thesis? Does the author adequately consider and refute opposing viewpoints? Is the book limited in application to specific types of churches? Is the book relevant to contemporary culture? · Does the author have to resort to suppression of contrary evidence in order to make the thesis credible (slanting)? If so, what additional evidence would weaken the case? • Is the thesis sound but marred by a flawed procedure? · Is the author’s case proved, or would another thesis have been more appropriately chosen? E. Finally, a summary section should be attached. How does this book differ from other treatments of the same subject matter? What is unique and valuable about this approach as opposed to the others? Would the reviewer recommend this book above others? Why or why not? This final summary should include the major strengths and weaknesses of the book and evaluate its value for readers who may be interested in that particular field of inquiry. Your primary purpose in this section is to respond both positively and negatively to the book’s contents and presentation. Needless to say, this response should be more in-depth than, “This book is a good book that should be recommended reading for everyone.” On the other hand, “This book is a lousy book not worth reading” is also inadequate. Central to this is the basic question of whether or not the author has achieved the book’s stated purpose. Answer questions such as: · What are the strengths of the book, i.e., what contributions does the book make? · Why should a person read this book? · What did you learn from this book? · How might you apply the lessons of this book in your ministry context? · Would you recommend the book to other ministers? to seminary students? to laypersons? Why, or why not? Do not allow your response to this question to become lengthy (for this paper is not primarily an evaluation of your ministry), but do make some application. Throughout your critique, be specific in your evaluations. Do not just tell the reader about the book; tell and show the reader with concrete examples from the book. As previously suggested, include page numbers when making specific reference to the book. F. The length of the review should be between five and seven pages, double-spaced Style Issues for a Book Review The following guidelines are included to counter common style errors: A. Utilize this suggested outline to guide your book review, but do not include the specific subheadings (“Bibliographical Entry,” “Summary of the Book,” etc.) in the essay. The brevity of the review demands a smooth flow from one section to another without including the subheadings. B. Use first-person sparingly; however, you may use “I” when referring to your opinion of a text. C. Avoid contractions in formal writing. D. Use active voice as much as possible. E. Be clear and concise. A brief review allows no room for wandering from your objective. F. Use your spell-checker, but do not trust it. A spell-check will not catch the error in such sentences as, “The whole church voted too pass the amendment.” Use your eyes as well as your spell-checker. G. Proofread your paper. Finish the paper, and proof it. Lay it aside, and proof it again at a later time. If you do not catch your errors, someone else will. Balfour, S. P. (2013). Assessing Writing in MOOCs: Automated Essay Scoring and Calibrated Peer Review™. Research & Practice in Assessment, 8, 40-48. Bazerman, Shaping Written Knowledge to an external site.

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