How to Write a Book Report

Before writing your book report, or even choosing the book that you want to read (unless a specific title comes pre-assigned) you need to first understand what a book report is.

What is a book report: A book report, to a certain degree, is an essay that discusses the contents of a specific book. More often than not, students in the elementary and high school streams will write such reports as a part of their English or literature class assignments. However, it is not uncommon to see book reports at the college level.

How to Write an Book Report

Depending on the age or comprehension level of the author, a book report can take on many different formats. However, it is important to note that the most effective classifications of a book report are character analysis, theme analysis and plot summary. Authoring a book report will provide you with valuable experience not only presenting your viewpoint and / or opinion about the various aspects of a particular book, but also allow you to practice your literature and language comprehension. Regardless of the type of report you choose to write, there are a few key components that you will need to be certain to include in order to effectively convey why the book you read was worth discussing further. Remember to include the following in every book report you write:

  1. The category of book report you will be writing
  2. The books title (If your school requires that you adhere to MLA or APA guidelines, you will want to italicize the title of the book whenever it is mentioned in the report.)
  3. The name of the person who wrote the book
  4. The era in which the book takes place
  5. The location in which the book takes place
  6. The names and a short description of each of the characters that will be mentioned in the body of the report
  7. Several relevant quotations and examples from the book; ideally those that best support your personal opinions. (Remember to write the quote exactly as you see it. The spelling, capitalization, and internal punctuation must be identical.)

Book Report Format

A book report is much more than just a book summary with a good introduction. Authoring a report will be easier if you think about how to write a theme and are mindful of proper writing format. If you are like most students, you are likely to be interested in what information is important, what should be included, and what should be left out. How exactly do you create a book report that is not only easy to read and understand – but also gets you a grade or response that is equal to the amount of effort and knowledge that you put into creating it?

Earlier we took note of several key components that must be included in every book report you write, here are a few more formatting guidelines:

  • Start the book report by typing out your teacher’s name, the title of the book, and the author of the book. You may choose to include this information on a report cover.
  • Include other important information about the book in your opening paragraph (otherwise known as the introduction). This should include when the book was published, if it is part of a series, etc.
  • Outline the theme of the book, and try to include a short summary of the book; one or two sentences will suffice.
  • Include succeeding paragraphs that clearly detail the books primary and supporting characters, and a plot summary.

The trick is to give as much detail as possible, without sacrificing on quality or reader engagement. In order to maintain an organized structure, you will want to keep information clear and concise, avoid jumping back and forth between different contexts, use detail and be descriptive, and clearly detail your primary points. Remember to use topic sentences and also closing sentences as each new paragraph starts and ends so that the reader does not become confused.

Book Report Outline

As previously stated, a book report is strikingly similar to an essay in the fact that it should always begin with an introductory paragraph and finish with a closing statement. Most book report introductions will begin with basic information about the book being discussed – the author, the title, the year of publication, etc.

Here is an opening statement that you may choose to use to help you get gain the momentum to get your book report started: “(book title) written by (name of author) is a (type of writing) that was originally published in (publication year) by (name of publisher). This book is perceived to be (‘the best piece or writing by –author’s name’; or ‘one of the best literary works of its time, etc.’). The author crafted this (novel, book, short story, etc.) as a response to (event that motivated publication).”

After you’ve gotten the information needed for your report cover page out of the way, and crafted a solid introduction, you will next move on to the body of the book report. The body of your report is where you will mention each of the main characters and the significance they bring to the book, remember to include any specific character traits that make up their persona, any special events that may have significant meaning, and of course, a few quotes.

You may choose to use phrases like: There are many characters in (book title) who bring significant value. (Character name) is the main protagonist and (describe the character, who they are, what they look like, what their attitude is like, if they are likeable, etc.)

Adhere to the same format for all other characters that will be mentioned in the book report. Remember to provide quotes and supporting evidence to support any claims you make. Next you will offer a brief plot summary. Given that book reports almost never extend past one page in length, you will need to find a way to mention key plot details in five sentences or less. Since there is no specific format that must be followed when writing a plot summary, it is crucial to ensure that proper grammatical rules are followed and that you endeavour to be as descriptive as possible without going overboard. You want to be engaging and informative, but not so wordy that your reader loses interest.

Lastly you will need to create your closing statement. This is normally done by offering a brief summary of the book and reiterating the key points you touched upon in your thesis. In summation, (book title) leaves a resounding impression. The author really went above and beyond in describing the (lesson of the book, significant occurrence, etc.). I would (or wouldn’t) encourage others to read it.

Book Report Examples

There are many different factors involved in writing a book report, and unless you are given a specific set of instructions that clearly outline the format or topic that you are to follow, you may be asking yourself how to write a theme, or even what sort of writing makes for a good book report.

Truthfully, a book report can be written on just about every type of writing you can find – novels, poems, short stories, biographies, even graphic novels all have the potential to provide excellent subject matter for a strong book report.

Whichever type of writing you choose, writing a book report is easy if you are careful to organize your thoughts.

Below are provided certain tips to writing a book report. Answer the following 10 questions to help you create an outline for a high-quality and well thought out book report.

  1. What is the title of the book?
  2. Who is the author of the book? (Name of the author and a brief biography)
  3. When was the book written? (Clearly illustrate when the book was written and, if known, the author’s inspiration for writing the book. You may also choose to include a historical overview of the writing.)
  4. Who was the book published by?
  5. What kind of writing is the book? (Is it a poem, prose, short story, non-fiction, novel, etc.)
  6. Who are the characters? (Are they likeable? Are they antagonistic? Use as much evidence as possible to support your character analysis – and include quotes, etc.)
  7. Include a brief plot summary.
  8. What is the dominant theme (s)? (Friendship, life, death, love, family, etc.)
  9. Is there any symbolism?
  10. Are there any motifs in the book?

Once you’ve clearly answered the above mentioned questions, you will find that your responses make up your book report in its entirety. With a few formatting changes, a little bit of organization, a solid introduction and strong closing statement, you are well on your way to creating a book report that you can be proud of.