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How to Write a Book Report: Advice from Experts

It is essential to know how to write a book report if you are a student studying in college or university. Book report assignments are one of the most popularly assigned tasks by professors since these tasks help them evaluate students` general knowledge in the subject as well as their critical and analytical skills. Moreover, with the help of book report writing, students can practice expressing their thoughts and points of view as well as master their skills of interpreting texts and broadening their outlook. Particularly, students can extend their outlook on life as they read different interesting books and articles. As such, book report writing is also a tool of perceiving new information and enriching one`s experience. Furthermore, when working on book reports, students also deeper understanding of a specific book, namely they learn how to interpret it and discuss the main aspects.


What Is a Book Report?

It is important to find a definition to what is a book report before you start working on the assignment. One of the broad definitions of book report writing is that it provides a concise description and summation of the assigned or chosen book (fiction or non-fiction). Sometimes, it may also include a personal evaluation of the book and its role in literature or some other broad contexts. Regardless of the writing complexity or academic level, a book report has a standard structure, which includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In the introductory paragraph, it is essential to mention the full name of the given book along with its author. Moreover, it is vital to outline the main idea of the book and what it is about. As an option, you can also highlight the significance of the book. The introductory paragraph should end with a thesis statement, where you put forward the main argument or a claim you intend to communicate across. In the body paragraphs, it is necessary to elaborate on the thesis, add more descriptions and illustrations, and make sure that you use ample supporting evidence as well as interpretations. The conclusion should provide a concise summation of the key points and the major findings you have acquired.

Characteristics of Book Report Format: Essentials of Successful Writing

The characteristics of book report format are standardized and they should comprise of the following elements:

  1. the book title and the publication year;
  2. the writer`s name;
  3. the category of writing (the genre), for example, autobiography, biography, non-fiction, fiction, documentary, love story, etc.;
  4. the main theme, central subject, storyline, etc.;
  5. a concise summary of the main points addressed in the book;
  6. personal response or reflection to the book, such as the emphasis on the strengths and weaknesses, the significance of the reading, and the summation of whether the book is worth reading;
  7. the main quotes from the book used as examples or illustrations.

How to Do a Book Report: A Step-by-Step Guide for Successful Writing

Before you start writing, you should definitely know how to do a book report, particularly how to deal with the pre-writing stage and the very process of writing. As such, among the most important things you need to know about writing a book report is that you need to identify a specific question to focus your book report on. When writing the very body of the book report, you need to develop the question in depth and elaborate on it so that it is clear what aspects you consider and from what perspectives you analyze the issue. Be prepared that you will need 3-4 days on average to work on the book report, as you need to have sufficient time for the book reading.
Check out the following tips that will help you be more efficient in book report writing:

  • Make sure you clearly identify your writing objectives. This is where you need to understand what idea you have to present and what you plan to write about.
  • Make sure you properly organize your working space. Have a piece of paper and a pen as well as some sticky notes to jot down important ideas.
  • While reading the book, make sure you write down important ideas, note down names of the main characters, highlight logical connections between different events, etc.
  • Pay attention to symbols and details. Check whether specific ideas are conveyed directly and literally or whether they are hidden.
  • Outline the main themes. Start discussing them beginning from the most important one.
  • Compose an outline. The outline will help you to save time in the very process of writing.

Your Book Report Introduction

The structure of the introduction is the very first thing you should be well aware of when you are searching information on how to start a book report. In the introductory paragraph, make sure you introduce the topic and explain why you have chosen it. Besides, it should be clear what personal assessment of the assigned book you have made. The introductory paragraph should contain an attention-hook, which grabs students` attention from the very beginning. It is also important to provide such information about the book as the author, the full title, and the year of publication if relevant.


Body of the Book Report

As a rule, the body of the book report has a five-paragraph structure. Each paragraph should be devoted either to a separate idea or to a separate aspect of the central idea. The following questions will help you organize your body paragraphs in a better way. Please keep in mind that each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. Ask yourself the following questions as you are working on the development of the book report ideas:

  1. Was the book enjoyable?
  2. Is the book properly written?
  3. What is the genre/ category of the assigned book?
  4. What are the main characters of the book? How to they interact?
  5. Have you noticed any symbols pertaining to the topic?
  6. What is the central writers` thesis?
  7. How can you describe the writing style of the book?
  8. What tone and manner of writing is inherent in the book?
  9. Is the book biased or written in an objective manner?


The conclusion is the final paragraph of the book report, where you need to sum up the core findings and impressions as well as share your opinion on whether the book is worth reading. Make sure that the conclusion addresses the following questions:

  • Is the book ending satisfactory? Was it predictable? Was it surprising?
  • Did you find the thesis of the book (if it is non-fiction) to be supported and developed throughout the book?
  • Did you get to know some new and interesting facts after reading?
  • Would you recommend the book to others?

Book Report Examples and Observations

Check out the following book report examples and observations composed by our expert writers to help you get an idea of what the main purpose and idea of the book is:

  • The main purpose of the book report is to convey your opinion on the book you have read. Particularly, you should state whether you liked the book, what you liked about it, and why you find it interesting. Moreover, it is aimed to help others make up their minds on whether the book is worth reading.
  • Be prepared that a book report may contain contrasting views. Writing a book report does not deal merely with reflecting on either positive or negative aspects – it may contain a comprehensive and balanced review of different aspects of the book.
  • A book report should provide a detailed and comprehensive summary as well as an evaluation of a specific book.

Tips for Effective Writing

  1. Provide the full name of the book as well as the name of the author who has written it.
  2. Provide information about the author: how good, prominent or masterful he/ she is.
  3. Focus on the characters: who they are, how they are related, what they do, what role they play in the book, how they interact, etc. Focus on the dialogues and the expression of their feelings.
  4. Identify the main objective of writing and make sure you reflect on it in your thesis statement written at the end of the introductory paragraph.
  5. Jot down information about important dialogues, emotional events, and other bright aspects worth consideration. Pinpoint on how the main characters experience emotions and feelings and how they cope with them.
  6. After you have written the text of the book report, make sure you proofread it carefully and attentively. Start proofreading from the introductory paragraph: it should be interesting and free from mistakes. The idea or message you intend to communicate across should be clear in order not to confuse your target audience.

Hopefully, you have liked all the tips and strategies provided in this article. They will definitely be helpful for the further reading. Should you need any more professional help, please feel free to contact us.

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April 24, 2019
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