Guidelines for Writing a Book Report

writing a book reportBook reports may not be one of the most fun things to do and they can also be somewhat tricky.

Here are some good guidelines to help write the sort of report someone would want to read.


Familiarity With Source Material

  • First, read the book carefully. Take lots of notes as you go.
  • If it is not a library book, then you should be sure to make notes and use highlighters to accent important passages.
  • If it is a library or other loan book, then you should get a little notebook to keep all your notes in the same place.
  • As you travel through the book make a careful note of all the things you find most interesting. If it is a novel or work of fiction, then take careful note of factors like character, setting, dialogue, and symbolism. If the book is nonfiction, then be sure to write down important events and observations. A timeline can be very helpful with both types of books.

Begin With Important Information

  • Mention the author, the dates of their birth and death, and the country where they lived and worked. This should not take more than a paragraph in a long report and should not be more than a sentence or two in a short one.
  • Include a brief summary of the book. Discuss what the book is about, and the methods that it uses to make its case to the readers. Try to describe the tone that the author imparts to the work.
  • Perhaps the most thing to include is a statement of intention, where you discuss what it is that you are trying to say about the book. A book report needs to contain a logical description of the book in question. By placing a short statement at the beginning of the report detailing what it is you wish to describe, you guide the reader to a fuller understanding of the book.

List Supporting Facts And Insights

  • The best part of the book report comes in the middle, where you choose the most important and interesting facts from your notes and illustrate them with examples from the text.
  • Quotes, references, and supporting research all belong in the body of the report.
  • Make sure to list your information in a clearly written structure. It is not always best to simply recount events in the order in which they occurred. Group them according to significance and influence upon other events.
  • Discuss symbolism, if the work in question is fictional.
  • Try to put the most important and interesting facts first. Think of it as a newspaper story and give the reader the facts they need first.

Sum It Up And Give Insights

  • The end of the book report is the right place to refer to the beginning again. You want a way to tie the entire report together.
  • Re-examine your statements from the introductory paragraph and show how the things you observed on your journey through the book support them.
  • Leave the reader with a good picture of the book you have read and an interesting thought or two to take away with them.

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