Critics: the next generation

Essex is breeding a new generation of critics with a website for children to publish their own book reviews. Intended to encourage reading and improve standards in literacy, Kids' Review was developed by parents who noticed how motivated children could get by using computers rather than by reading books. They were also impressed by how highly children regarded recommendations from other children, so a top 10 of books is featured on the site based on the scores given by reviewers. This is one of the features available to non-subscribers. The service is available for schools and libraries, and reviews are only "published" on the live website once they have been approved by teachers. Essex, with its 580 schools, is the first LEA subscription. There is no advertising on Kids Review and costs are met by subscription, from pound;159 for schools with less than 100 pupils.

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