How to write a book report: professional tips from CopyCrafter writers

How to write a book report? This question haunts many students and the answer is never quite as straightforward as some of them hope.

To be clear, a book report isn’t the same thing as a book review. People use those words interchangeably. But the meanings behind the terms differ. A book review is an evaluation. It considers the merits and demerits of a given book and then provides a conclusion that might or might not recommend the book. A book report is more objective. It is tasked with simply summarizing the various aspects of the book.

If you wish to know how to do a book report, you must first consider the different attributes that constitute the average book report. They include:

  1. A summary
  2. Theme and character analysis
  3. The time and setting of the story
  4. The names of important characters and any facts about them that the reader might want to know
  5. Author, title, publisher, number of pages, and other key details
  6. Quotes and sections from the book that support whatever perspective you wish to push
  7. Plot summary

The actual process of writing a book report typically involves the following:

  1. Find the book you want to summarize. Take a moment to collect the key details (title, genre, etc.)
  2. Read the book. Take careful notes of the contents. If the book features fictional characters, remember those characters, their objectives, and the actions they take. Also, note the setting. This approach is applicable to nonfiction. Observe the key elements of the narrative, the subject matter being pushed, the symbolism, etc.
  3. Do not wait until you finish the book to collect important quotes, examples, and scenes that support your opinion. Mark every section that piques your interest in a manner that will allow you to find and refer to it later on.
  4. Once you finish reading and once you have accumulated all the observations you need to make your point, commence with the writing.
  5. Start with an introduction that provides a brief glimpse into the message of the entire report. Then, transition into the body. This is where you produce the summary. The summary should lay out the plot while also attempting to interpret the themes and messages the author wanted to convey. Some people might go so far as to touch upon the writing style.
  6. Once you finish the summary, write the conclusion. This is where you summarize the entire report in a few sentences. The conclusion should paint a brief but concrete picture of your thesis.

If you can execute all the steps mentioned above, it shouldn’t take you long to prepare a book report. Of course, these steps only tell you how to write a book report. They don’t answer an even more important question: how to write a college level book report. College book reports are far more complicated than their high school counterparts. This is because teachers expect college students to manifest a more sophisticated thought process.

For that reason, you will find that the basic stages of writing a book report stay the same for college students. You are still expected to read the book, take notes, produce an introduction, summary, and a conclusion. However, your work must also include an analytical aspect. You have to talk about the history of the book, why the author felt compelled to write it, the target audience, and additional bibliographical data.

There are academic styles and formatting techniques that college students must inject into their work.

But again, whether you have to write a high school or college level book report, the key to success is to master the basics which, for the most part, remain unchanged.

How to start a book report?

The hardest part of writing a book report is starting. A lot of people struggle to put those first few words on paper mostly because they have no idea where to begin in their efforts to present their thesis on a particular book.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, you can kickstart the creative process by writing a summary. That means jotting down the argument you want to present, the ideas you intend to put across, the things you liked or hated, the characters you noted, etc.

Pour all your ideas on paper and then start sieving them, polishing what you can defend, and discarding any fat. With this foundation, it won’t take you long to start the actual writing process.

How to title a book report?

Book reports are not book reviews. Book reviews require hard-hitting titles that convey the subjective opinion of the reviewer. Book report titles do not require such poetry. In fact, the official format of a book report places more emphasis on the teacher’s name and the title and author of the book.

Book report titles are not an issue.

How to write an outline for a book report?

A good book report starts with a decent outline, and the process of creating it will involve the things listed below.

Understand your assignment

Talk to your teacher if necessary. Figure out exactly what is expected of you, whether you are only required to produce a summary or if you have to provide an analysis. Some teachers might encourage you to include certain citations. Others might not.

Read the book to completion

This point needs to be emphasized. It is difficult to produce an original book report from other summaries and book reports of the same book.

You need to read the book on your own from beginning to end. Don’t skim. Take as much time as you need.

Take notes along the way

That means keeping a writing tool such as pen and paper or even a computer on hand. Document every plot thread, character introduction, development, mystery, and location detail that piques your interest. Mark any sentences and quotations you might want to refer to later on.

Create an outline

Once you complete the reading process, use your notes to create an outline of what your report will look like. You can use simple sentences or entire paragraphs to present every point you intend to make.

The outline must be revised. Read through your work. You will notice ideas that don’t fit, sections that need to be polished, and concepts that require further analysis. The purpose of this stage is to locate and remove any egregious errors before you proceed to write the book report.

How to write an introduction for a book report?

An introduction to a book report should be easy to write because it is so short. But this section requires one to succinctly summarize the theme of their report and that tends to present a challenge.

Technically speaking, all you need to do to produce a competent introduction is the following:

  • Write the book title and the author’s name in the allotted spaces.
  • Provide an interesting reason that drew you to the book. A fascinating fact about the volume should do.
  • Summarize the book. Better yet, review the summary in the book report, but do so in just one or two sentences.
  • The summary should be followed by a sentence stating your thesis and the details you intend to provide to support it.

The final paragraph of the introduction should seamlessly flow into the body of your book report.

Remember, your introduction needs to hook your readers. It has to incite a desire to read the rest of the book report in them.

How to write a setting for a book report?

The setting in a book report is the place where the story in the book takes place. You need to state what it is, be it a village, a country, or even a planet.

You must also point out its defining features. That includes the weather, any architectural structures that might be present, and the major events that play out within its confines.

Do not forget to talk about all the ways the story is impacted by the setting, including any opinions the characters might hold.

How to write a conclusion for a book report?

If the introduction asks a question, the conclusion is responsible for providing the summary to the answer. It should do the following:

  • It should rephrase the thesis of your report.
  • It should state the objective the book report accomplished, and the destination it eventually reached.
  • It should reiterate your main points without introducing any new ideas.
  • It should provide some reflection on the characters, themes, and plot of the book and how they might apply to contemporary situations.

The conclusion should end the report while also encourage readers to yearn for more information.

How to format a book report?

Most book reports are formatted using the Modern Language Association style.

The MLA style demands double-spaced text and 12-point Times New Roman font. The name of the teacher, the name of the report’s author, the class, and the date should be positioned on the top left corner, while the page numbers go on the top right corner.

You are supposed to keep the title below the name and course information in the center. This is on top of indenting paragraphs with a tab.

Talk to your teacher before using the MLA format. Make sure they don’t have some other formatting preference in mind.