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Camille Ortega Lehrmann
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Should I Spend My Money? A Guide to Analyzing Reviews

Should I Spend My Money? A Guide to Analyzing Reviews

Camille Ortega Lehrmann of Heraldsburg High School in Heraldsburg, Calif.

Camille Ortega Lehrmann
Heraldsburg High School
Heraldsburg, Calif.

Title: Should I spend my money? A guide to analyzing reviews.

Objective: Critically analyze entertainment reviews using a set of agreed upon criteria that distinguishes a well-written review, including the following: shows passion, shows knowledge of the subject, displays good writing skills, lends insight and new perspective.

Purpose: To be effective readers and consumers of entertainment reviews and articles of persuasion while working towards a goal of writing informative entertainment reviews.

Materials: Three reviews of the same movie, video, video game, book or CD. List of criteria to judge the review to be gathered in class. Newspaper reviews photocopied for students to practice on.


Activity One:

  • Read the brief movie reviews aloud listed in the Sunday section of the newspaper to get students thinking about the purpose of reviews.
  • Brainstorm why people read reviews.
    • Learn something about the plot
    • Learn which actors are starring
    • Learn the name of the director
    • Decide whether or not to spend money
  • Define the critic’s job
    • Be informed or knowledgeable about the subject
    • Pique interest without giving away the plot
    • Show passion for the genre
    • Lend insight that might be overlooked or give a different perspective
  • Hand out one photocopied movie review that all students will use as a practice (not the same review to be used for the personal analysis).
  • Read the photocopied movie review (entertainment review).
  • Using a highlighter identify in the article where the shows the following:
    • Identify where the author shows specific knowledge
    • Identify where the author shows passion about the subject
    • Identify where the author piques the reader’s interest
    • Identify where the author shows reader a different perspective
  • Divide into groups and discuss findings.

Activity Two:

  • Give students three different reviews of the same movie from three different publications (two different newspapers and one magazine or any combination to equal three).
  • Students will compare and contrast the reviews and analyze for effectiveness using the established criteria for a good review.
  • Students will choose the most effective review and write an analytical essay explaining and supporting their choice.
  • Students will explain why the author persuaded him or her to see or not see the movie using evidence from the reviews.

Other Considerations

Students need not have seen the movie to read the reviews; in fact, it is better if they haven’t. Students must have already been taught the analytical essay format.


The assessment for this objective is whether the students were able to use the established criteria in their essays to analyze the review and if they were able to convey this analysis in essay form. Students must have identified each set of the criteria in the essay to receive full credit.

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