Improving the book review assignment

In past classes, I have had to put together book reviews. In my Teaching Adult Learners class, Dr. Michael Day has asked us to complete three book reviews or critiques.

Most of the book review is what you would typically find in a book review; purpose, arguments and evidence, as well as your personal reaction.  However, Day asked us to add one piece that no one else has ever asked me to add. He asked for context. He wanted us to examine the book in relation to the period when it was written, and the events that may have had an influence on the writer. I personally felt this added to the value of the book review. I was able to glean a little insight into the reasoning why Lindeman wrote The Meaning of Adult Education*, for example.

Day explains in his reasoning that he had been exposed to this method for writing book critiques after reading Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren’s How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading*. This has been added to my reading list, I hope also yours.

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