Melissa Jensen
Literature, Secondary English Language Arts, Media and Communications
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Homework/Assignment, Lesson Plan
Middle School, High School
  • Lesson Plan
  • Literacy
  • Photography
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Book Reviews With Digital Photography

    Book Reviews With Digital Photography


    Students will capture their own images to promote or recommend a book from their personal reading. This assignment is designed to blend principles from digital photography, design, and library media standards to demonstrate deeper understanding and critical thinking skills. 

    This lesson plan was created by Andrea Settle then remixed by Melissa Jensen.

    Image: "Student Photographer" by Melissa Jensen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


    Summary:  Using Chromebooks or iPads, students will capture their own images to present themes,  recommend reading materials, or promote a text to read for enjoyment from their personal reading book. This assignment is designed to blend principles from digital photography, design, and reading literature standards to demonstrate deeper understanding and critical thinking skills. 

    Time Frame:  Students are expected to have read a book from the school library outside of class on their own time (the time allotted can vary with teacher expectation). The lesson is expected to take 2-3 class periods.

    This lesson works in any format:  synchronous, blended, or asynchronous

    Tools needed for students:

    • Digital Camera or Phones for capturing Photos
    • Chromebooks or iPads for editing work
    • Adobe Express or Canva (both programs are free for Utah students.)


    Background for Teachers

    For this lesson, teachers will need:

    • A basic understanding of digital photography principles. Consider the following:

    • A working knowledge of a few editing filters and filtering apps.  Consider the following:​​​​​​​

    • To be comfortable recommending reading from multiple genres to pursue personal, intellectual, and emotional growth.

    • General understanding of copyright and creative commons

    • Adobe Spark, Canva or simliar program.

    • Also, I highly recommend registering for the UEN course “Mobile Photography in the Classroom”

    Teachers might want to consider adding these resources to help with teaching about critical thinking prior to this assignment:


    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes


    Students will be able to:

    • Take digital photos using design principles

    • Edit photos with filters 

    • Search and utilize creative commons and/or license their work on creative commons

    • Demonstrate understanding of Secondary Library Media Standards:


        • Standard 1: Build reading behaviors for lifelong learning and enjoyment of reading.

          • a. Select texts from a variety of formats and genres to read for enjoyment, acquire knowledge, and answer questions.

          • b. Make personal connections while respecting the right to read, seek information, and speak freely.

          • d. Contribute to a reading and learning community including recommending reading materials to peers.


    • Students will create a digital product to share with a broad audience (publish to creative commons) showing proficiency in digital photography and reading for enjoyment or lifelong learning.


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction


    • Prior to this lesson, students should have prior knowledge of using camera apps

    • Students should have read their own chosen book (they should be well aware of the date to complete the reading.)


    • Teachers should be aware of each learner’s chosen book, gauging ability and interest.    The book selection is an area for students to personalize, diversify, and where many accommodations can be made. 

    Step 4 - Assessments

    The assignment will be submitted to Canvas in two parts: The digital image (collage or flyer) image and the explanation paragraph.   *Final Assessment*



    Step 3 - Instruction

    Part 1 - 

    • Students should take notes or jot down ideas for their digital projects.  It may be helpful to create a google doc or a table where students can write down their own answers, depending on grade level.  Students are looking for elements from their personal reading to do one of the following:

      • Present themes

      • Recommend reading materials

      • Promote a text to read for enjoyment

      • Promote a text to read for lifelong learning

          *Formative Assessment*

    Part 2 - (For additional help with instruction, see Section 2, Background for Teachers)

    • Instruct students on general photography principles and techniques (rule of thirds, perspective, negative space, reflection, silhouette, shadow, etc).

    • Include a lesson regarding proper credit, citations, and creative commons. 

    • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the photography concepts by doing one of the following: (This can be completed in pairs or groups.)

      • Look through their own saved photos or Adobe Stock photos for examples.

      • Take digital photos on their own.

                      *Formative Assessment*

    Part 3 - 

    • Next, students are allowed to be experts.  Ask students what photo filters they have used in the past, and what are their favorites.  *You may ask a few students to share in advance or be ready with examples if students are reluctant to share. 

    • Demonstrate the photo filter techniques and examples.

    • Students should filter their own classroom photos to create a new mood/tone/effect.  Students may do this using either:

      • Filters or apps on their device's built-in camera

      • Adobe Express or Canva                                                                                                    

    *Formative Assessment*

    • Discuss how the filter influences/alters the impact of the original photo

    Part 4 - 

    • Revisit the elements identified in the Part 1 discussion.

    • Allow students time to shoot their own photos (this may be assigned outside of class time).

    • Inform students that they will add at least five original images to their final product, using filters for at least two of the images to add to the effect. 

    • The assignment must include a short paragraph describing how their completed digital work represents their theme and what filters or techniques were used to enhance the ideas.  

    • Students should get feedback from their group and sign-off from the teacher.

      *Formative Assessment*

    Part 5 - 

    • Give students time to experiment with Adobe Express and/or Canva to plan their digital photo book review.

    • Once students have their original images, they should have time to experiment with filters. 

    • Students will add their original/filtered images to a collage created on Adobe Express and/or Canva.

    • Finally, students will have an opportunity to upload the images to creative commons. Other options for displaying creative designs include:

      • Uploading images to the library's social media platforms for a school-wide/promotional reading account on social media.

      • Printing the images to display in the library.

      • Displaying the digital images on the library's television.



    Collage (Senior Ball © 2023 by Melissa Jensen is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 )

    Flyer (, Adobe Stock Photos)