How to Write a Book Report
What is a book report?
Book reports are informative writing pieces that are similar to book reviews. There are, however, some important differences. A book review critiques a book by summarizing it, assessing its value, and telling other potential readers whether it’s worth reading. Book reviews are typically college assignments, but they also appear in publications such as magazines, newspapers, and academic journals.
Book Report Outline
The primary focus of a book report is summarizing literary work—not evaluating it. Teachers assign them to students in high school and middle school. The word count and format for book reports vary depending on the grade level. The purpose of a book report is to improve the communication and analytical skills of students as they express their thoughts about the books they read. Find out excellent tips on how to write a report.
Book Report format
Book reports can take different formats depending on whether you’re analyzing the plot, characters, or theme. Regardless of the report, you need to keep in mind some basics for your report to be compelling. Include the following details:
- The type of book report
- The title of the book
- The author of the book
- The time and location of the story
- The characters’ names
- A brief description of the characters
- Citations from book to support your thoughts
1. Analyzing the Plot
Avoid retelling the entire story when writing a plot summary for a book report. Your summary should include your thoughts on the plot of the story; for example, whether you find the plot realistic, compelling, and so on. Share the rationale behind your opinion. Use examples and quotations from the book to support your opinions. Your plot summary should feature sentences with a structure similar to:
The plot of [book title] by [author] is [an adjective describing the plot] because [rationale behind your opinion]. For example, [share example or quotation from the book].
2. Analyzing the Characters
Book reports on character analysis examine the character’s attributes and how they play into the plot. Here are examples of questions that your character analysis should answer.
- What impression does each character leave on the reader?
- What are the positive and negative attributes of each character?
- How does each character play into the plot?
- Are there characters with personality traits that often stir conflict?
Support your thoughts with examples and quotes from a dialogue in the book. Discuss a character’s manner of speaking and how it affects others in the story.
3. Analyzing the Themes
Exploring the ideas the drive the story is an effective way of writing a book report. The more you care about the theme you choose, the easier it is to write this type of report. Share your opinion on major themes and minor ones that may not be obvious. Make sure you establish a theme and where it appears in the story before you share your thoughts about it. Keep in mind the following when analyzing themes.
- Use various examples and quotations to support your analysis.
- Make a clear connection between the example/quotation and the theme.
- Talk about the impact the theme had on you and how it affected your reading experience.
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