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How to Write Outstanding College Level Book Reports
There's nothing quite like enjoying a really solid piece of literature. Hours can pass while you're diving into a new world that the author has created. Your enjoyment of your novel may dissipate slightly when you are trying to figure out how to write a college level book report about it—but it doesn't have to be that way. Analyzing (and maybe even critiquing) novels is a useful skill that will help you both in and outside of the classroom. In this post we will outline the best strategies of painlessly writing a book report. It's important to note that there is no one generic book report assignment. This isn't necessarily a step-by-step guide, but it can help get you started thinking about the specific requirements that your instructor has for you.
Know the assignment
When you start out your book report assignment, it's important that you know exactly what your instructor is requiring. Does your instructor want you to explore the book's theme and write a five-paragraph essay on it, or are you supposed to be writing an essay about a particular character? Read through the assignment sheet very carefully and make sure that you understand all of the instructions. If you have questions or are uncertain about something, be sure to ask your instructor.
Actually read the book
Even though it may be tempting to take a shortcut and watch a movie adaptation of your book or even to read the Sparknotes , definitely resist that urge. Not only will your report be more thorough if you read the book the whole way through, but reading and understanding themes and outlining a novel plot is an invaluable experience. You'll be able to understand books on a completely new and more appreciative level. When you are reading the novel for your book report, write down page numbers or passages that pertain to the assignment or that you think might be interesting to mention.
Try to really sink into what the author is trying to say by asking yourself the following questions:
- What is the main theme of the book? The theme is the meaning or the entire reason behind writing the book. An author doesn't typically write just to write something down. What motivated them to pen this novel?
- What is happening to the characters? Typically novels are told from the perspective (either in the first or third person) of the main character, though some novels have multiple perspectives. Is this character a good character or are they flawed? What kinds of obstacles is the character going through? What did they learn during the course of the story?
- What is the plot of the book? There are several different kinds of plots, and it's helpful to know what kind your chosen novel has in order to help you analyze it better. Some stories are quests: that is, the main character is on a journey to accomplish a goal (think Lord of the Rings). Some stories are overcoming obstacles—whether that's internal or external. What kind of plot does your novel have and why do you think the author chose that particular type?
Write a good introduction
After you've read your book thoroughly and you've thought about the characters, themes, plot, and some good quotes, you'll be ready to start writing the book report. Like any other paper, a good book report needs an explanatory introduction that is easy to understand. When writing the introduction, be sure to include the title of the work, the author, and a sentence or two on what you will be overviewing in the report. Even though it may not be required to have a thesis statement in your book report, writing one in your paper might keep it more focused and help you narrow down what you will be writing in the body paragraphs.
For example, if we were writing an introduction about a book report over Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird , we might write something like this:
In Harper Lee's iconic coming of age novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee confronts the audience with the idea that systemic racism was rampant in the U.S. court system in the early 20th century in the South. She illustrates this idea with the unfair trial of convicted rapist Tom Robinson, whose lawyer Atticus Finch handily proves is innocent, yet is still sentenced with a crime he did not commit. Through the eyes of the young main character, Scout Finch, the audience is able to learn about these injustices with the innocent eyes of a child.
As you can see, we mentioned the name of the book, the author, and we also outlined what we would be discussing throughout the body paragraphs in the book report. Not only will this let the reader know what this report is about, but it'll also help you stay organized when you are writing the paper. Note that nowhere in this paragraph does it say that we really liked the book. Whether or not we liked the book is irrelevant in the report. What the book report is trying to do is to objectively understand a book's relevance and importance wit themes, characters, motifs, etc. (Though of course it's perfectly okay and encouraged to like the book that you are reviewing.)
Implement the ideas in the body paragraphs
The meat of your book report will be in the body paragraphs. These paragraphs will expand on the ideas that you brought up in your introduction paragraph and allow you to introduce the novel in depth to your reader.
Though no two book report assignments are the same, it's likely that your instructor is going to want to see some summarization in your book report. Your summary of the novel shouldn't be too lengthy (this is a report after all, so it's typically quite short). If your instructor has assigned a five-page book report, don't summarize the book in four and a half pages. As a general rule, commit about 1/3 of the paper to a summary just so you can make sure the reader understands your analysis of it without having read it.
Once you are done writing the summary of the novel, then you can get into your actual analysis of it. You may remember that we brought up systemic racism in the U.S. court system in the South in our essay on To Kill a Mockingbird. In our summary, we would then explore those ideas that we brought forth to the reader. How does Lee illustrate this idea throughout the novel? A good way to show how the author is making this point is through direct quotations from the book that you believe are a good showcase.
In your analysis, you should also be discussing theme (or what was the author's purpose behind writing this book) and character. No two analyses are the same, which is what makes book reports and literary criticism so interesting. Everyone will read the novel through their own personal lenses and experiences and come up with a completely different interpretation of what the author intended for us to come away with.
Again, it's crucial to keep looking at your instructions for your book report so that you know exactly what you need to be discussing. Even if you write a brilliant report over the theme of systemic racism in the court system in To Kill a Mockingbird, it won't do you any good when you were actually supposed to write about the relationship between Scout and Atticus Finch and why it mattered. Paying attention to instructions is one of the biggest keys to success in writing a book report.
As with all other conclusions, focus on wrapping things up neatly. Though you may be tempted to just say in the conclusion that you either loved or hated the book, this doesn't make for a very interesting paragraph. When you are writing your conclusion on your book report, think about why this novel matters. If you didn't like it, think about why you didn't like it. Think about how well the author gets his or her point across. Should this book be read widely to gain a critical understanding of a subject? Why or why not? Would you recommend this book to others? The genre of book reports generally seeks out the opinion of the writer, so make sure that you let your voice be heard.
Like any other paper that you write, it's crucial to go back through and revise if you are turning in the final copy. It's extremely rare that you'll write something that doesn't have any mistakes or reworking to do. Once you have written the first draft, take a short break to get your eyes off the paper for just a bit. Come back to the paper after the break with a set of fresh eyes and try to read through it for grammar and spelling mistakes (spell check doesn't get everything!) and then once again for content. Make sure that everything makes sense and is very explanatory. After all—you have to assume that your audience hasn't read your book yet so you want to make sure that you are explaining it well enough to someone who has never read a sentence of it and still be able to understand.
If you are uncertain about sentences or even entire passages of your book report, ask a friend or your instructor to take a look at your work. Sometimes it helps to get an outside opinion since you've been closely working with the text.
Book reports teach us more than just how to write a report
Though we do a lot of research and studying about subjects that may not be applicable after college, book reports may be one of the only exceptions to that. Novels, no matter how abstract the concept, teach us about human behavior and life through plots and characters. Understanding how to break down an author's intent on their stories will absolutely be relevant to your life. Having the curiosity and the skills to understand a novel with a more complex understanding will undoubtedly enrich your reading experience.
Remember than an effective book report will have an introduction that mentions the book title, author, and include the points you will be making throughout the body paragraphs. Your body paragraphs will expand on those ideas that you brought up in the introduction, using quotes from the book, analysis, and summary to aide you.
Finally, be sure that once the book report has been written that you are carefully looking at spelling, grammar, and the content of your paragraphs. Get a friend, your instructor, or even a professional editor to look at your book report to make sure you are on the right track.
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Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts
Writing a Book Report
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This resource discusses book reports and how to write them.
Book reports are informative reports that discuss a book from an objective stance. They are similar to book reviews but focus more on a summary of the work than an evaluation of it. Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work; their focus is primarily on giving an account of the major plot, characters, thesis, and/or main idea of the work. Most often, book reports are a K-12 assignment and range from 250 to 500 words.
Book reviews are most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works: magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. If you are looking to write a book review instead of a book report, please see the OWL resource, Writing a Book Review .
Before You Read
Before you begin to read, consider what types of things you will need to write your book report. First, you will need to get some basic information from the book:
- Publisher location, name of publisher, year published
- Number of Pages
You can either begin your report with some sort of citation, or you can incorporate some of these items into the report itself.
Next, try to answer the following questions to get you started thinking about the book:
- Author: Who is the author? Have you read any other works by this author?
- Genre: What type of book is this: fiction, nonfiction, biography, etc.? What types of people would like to read this kind of book? Do you typically read these kinds of books? Do you like them?
- Title: What does the title do for you? Does it spark your interest? Does it fit well with the text of the book?
- Pictures/Book Jacket/Cover/Printing: What does the book jacket or book cover say? Is it accurate? Were you excited to read this book because of it? Are there pictures? What kinds are there? Are they interesting?
As You Read
While reading a work of fiction, keep track of the major characters. You can also do the same with biographies. When reading nonfiction works, however, look for the main ideas and be ready to talk about them.
- Characters: Who are the main characters? What happens to them? Did you like them? Were there good and bad characters?
- Main Ideas: What is the main idea of the book? What happens? What did you learn that you did not know before?
- Quotes: What parts did you like best? Are there parts that you could quote to make your report more enjoyable?
When You Are Ready to Write
Announce the book and author. Then, summarize what you have learned from the book. Explain what happens in the book, and discuss the elements you liked, did not like, would have changed, or if you would recommend this book to others and why. Consider the following items as well:
- Principles/characters: What elements did you like best? Which characters did you like best and why? How does the author unfold the story or the main idea of the book?
- Organize: Make sure that most of your paper summarizes the work. Then you may analyze the characters or themes of the work.
- Your Evaluation: Choose one or a few points to discuss about the book. What worked well for you? How does this work compare with others by the same author or other books in the same genre? What major themes, motifs, or terms does the book introduce, and how effective are they? Did the book appeal to you on an emotional or logical way?
- Recommend: Would you recommend this book to others? Why? What would you tell them before they read it? What would you talk about after you read it?
Do a quick double check of your paper:
- Double-check the spelling of the author name(s), character names, special terms, and publisher.
- Check the punctuation and grammar slowly.
- Make sure you provide enough summary so that your reader or instructor can tell you read the book.
- Consider adding some interesting quotes from the reading.
What is a Book Report & How to Write a Perfect One
Published on: Jan 26, 2022
Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023
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Writing a book report is a terrifying experience for many students. The terror begins with reading and understanding what you're reading but then continues as your thoughts become paper in front of you.
Have you ever been assigned a book report and thought, ‘Ugh! This is going to be terrible?’ Well, we're here to help.
Below you can find a helpful guide to understand how to write a perfect report. Here we have also provided some sample book reports and a free book report template for your help.
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What is a Book Report?
A book report is an informative piece of writing that summarizes the novel and presents some brief analysis on its main elements like plot, setting, characters.
This could either be a work of fiction or nonfiction with a tone covering everything from serious to humorous.
A book review is not the same as a book report. Although they may look similar, one requires in-depth analysis and an objective point of view while the other is more descriptive and subjective.
Some course instructors may ask students to add relevant themes of the book and plot elements into their book reports. But, on a very basic level, a book report is an extremely simple form of review for any given text - no matter what its genre or author.
How does book report writing benefit you? Writing a good report will help students to improve their analytical and communication skills. They also get the opportunity to practice expressing themselves through creative or critical thought about the different aspects of books they read.
How to Start a Book Report?
Let your audience know that something exciting is coming up using a creative and engaging tone of voice. One way to do this is through creating mystery or suspense, which can be done with the following tips:
Think about what you experience in your daily life that captures your attention. You may choose to begin by asking the reader a question or hinting at the topic of their report with drama and intrigue.
Your introductory paragraph should give a little overview. This isn't the place to delve into details, but draw off your hook and share more information crucial to understanding what happens in the storyline of this report.
When writing a paper, you might also include your own interpretations of the subject matter. Make sure to ask your teacher how much personal interpretation he or she wants first, though!
If they want some opinion from you, introduce it with an introduction that includes a thesis statement - this is where you present the reader with your argument about what you think about the work.
How to Write a Book Report?
Here are the steps that you need to follow for writing a great book report.
Writing a good report requires that you have read the material. Many students think they can summarize or borrow from other sources online, but this is not the correct methodology.
Reading the text will help you learn from the book, understand what's happening in detail, and write about it more effectively; otherwise, one would be forced into summarizing, leading to inaccuracies.
When reading the book, be sure to keep a notebook with you for quick reference. No other method is as useful and helpful as having your pen ready.
You should take relevant and strong quotes from the book to write a better report on your theme. The quote will also help when you write an evaluation, for example, if it relates to what you're saying in your paper.
The outline is the backbone of a good and strong report. It's important to make an organized, detailed list with all points that need attention. This way, you can stay focused on what needs to be included in your writing.
After you have finished reading the book, start writing your report. Follow closely to what points and quotes you've gathered to stay focused on finishing up this project.
Usually, including both basic information about a certain topic or text and an analysis of it, make sure that there is enough detail provided for readers so they can come away with more knowledge than when they started reading.
Book Report Outline
When you finish the book, you'll have all of these notes written down. These will be very helpful when it comes time to do your outline. The book report outline includes the following three elements.
The opening paragraph is your chance to quickly build some interest by mentioning any unusual facts or circumstances about the writing of the book. You should also mention why you chose to read through this specific work, so the reader can really understand where you were coming from and how much effort went into picking one thing over another as if life depended on which direction our thumb would move across those pages next.
In the first paragraph of your essay, you should briefly introduce a key theme or plot point without giving away too much detail. In the second paragraph, try to provide an example from that part of the book and explore how it relates back to what is happening in other chapters or throughout. You could also compare two characters while exploring their similarities and differences.
In the third body paragraph, you can add some quotes from the book to provide authenticity. At the middle school and high school level, they have a three-paragraph format for their reports. Begin with a statement that supports your thesis in one sentence, followed by five or six examples drawn from the text, which also consolidate your position further on this particular point of argumentation before concluding decisively and showing how it fulfills what is asked at first.
This report summarizes the points discussed in the book. It is for an audience that needs to be more informed about this topic, and it can help them become better at what they do if read carefully.
Book Report Template
Here is a sample book report format template that you can go through for a better understanding.
Book Report Examples
Before you head into the writing process of your book report, it's a great idea to take some time and look at examples of other people's book reports. In this way, you'll see how others have written their own work in an engaging manner that will inspire creativity on your part as well.
Book Report of Oliver Twist
Book Report on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Cereal Box Book Report
Book Report Format
Book Report Ideas
Picking a book for your report can be an intimidating task. You don't have any idea which books to read or what the professor will prefer, but there are some ideas of different subjects you could write about:
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- The Fault in Our Stars book report
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Hunger games book report
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- Charlotte's webbook report
If you are still not sure about how to write a book report that will help you earn an A, then CollegeEssay.org has the perfect solution for you. Consider taking professional essay writing assistance from one of our experienced writers who specialize in this area.
No matter if you need help with your college essay , book review, book report, or full-length research paper, we can help. Order now so your writer can get started on your paper before the deadline.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main parts of a book report.
The main parts of a book report are the bibliography, characters, setting, themes, and plot. These four elements form a descriptive book report. However, most reports that you will read in high school or college are expository-based, meaning they explore an idea rather than discuss it.
Are book reports essays?
A book report is, quite simply, an essay about a book. A book report is a type of essay that students are asked to write by their teachers. Different formats for this writing assignment may be used, but the most common one is expository style (i.e., telling about something).
How long should a book report be?
Your book report should not exceed two double-spaced pages, and it should be somewhere between 600 and 800 words in length.
What is a thesis in a book report?
After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic. This sentence is the thesis statement and serves as an overview of what will be discussed in this paper.
Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)
Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.
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Book Report Outline: Writing Steps, Key Elements, Templates
Updated 01 Feb 2023
Book report can be defined as an objective summary of key ideas or arguments contained in a book. This task is frequently assigned to elementary, middle school, high school, college students in the US. It’s aimed at fortifying or verifying their abilities to precisely summarize and convey large written works.
Hence, learning to do it right is not only important for scoring higher grades but also for mastering these essential associated skills. Some of these skills should do with reading and comprehending content, sketching detailed book report outline by extracting key points, main body, etc. Also, you need to detect plagiarism accurately with the plagiarism checker free of charge.
Chief purpose of book report is to make readers familiar with book’s content in brief and efficient manner (so that he/she can decide whether it is of any interest or use without having to read this book).
What Elements Should Outline Include?
Book report outline completed for fictional works usually contain following elements:
- Introduction made up of key bibliographical information – this is helpful in identifying written work you focus on, besides providing some useful contextual information.
- Book summary or plot – this summarizes content, characters, main event or plot twist.
- Description of main characters & most relevant/telling story elements/plot moments associated with them.
- Overall book message & purpose as intended by the author.
- Attitude towards or interpretation of book – this section allows to express your state, feelings, thoughts. impressions about this work. However, that unlike in reviews, where this is the most important and bulky section, in reports, this part is rather brief. To find out more about reviews proceed to our book review services .
Obviously, format of nonfiction book report outline would differ given that there are no characters or plots – in this case, it is ideas presented in each major section that is described along with other elements listed above. Looking for a research proposal writing service online? We can help you best.
Steps Involved in Writing a Report
Acing this kind of assignment implies mastering all related sub-tasks, like
- Reading, highlighting/making important notes. Balancing amount of highlighting is essential for it to be useful – you should limit it only to most important points and quotes to include them in outline. You might also be willing to mark quotes differently, to allow easy visual distinction from other highlighted sentences.
- Completing report outline by extracting main points from highlighted material, summarizing information, rearranging paragraphs to ensure smooth content flow. Page numbers might be included here to facilitate information retrieval in later. One could do this either on paper or on computing devices (even mobile phones), whichever is more convenient.
- Composing report itself using that outline for book report assembled earlier. Include quotes and numerous examples/details – these would prove to evaluators that you read text itself rather than its summary. Use quotes for greater effect but do not exaggerate with these. Also consult your instructions – various citation formats would require you to indicate page numbers from where quotes are taken.
- Editing/revising/proofreading of outline – to eliminate mistakes, confusing formulations, unclarities, etc. If you’ve got ready essays/reports/papers you want to edit/proofread, use our online essay editor that includes grammar, spelling, task requirement check.
Read also: Paraphrase Citation : How to Not Make a Mistake
How to Write Report for Students of Different Level
Students at various educational levels have various abilities, which suggests that assigned tasks should be adapted correspondingly:
- How to write a book report for the 4th grade – at this young age, students should be presented with straightforward strategies, ideally practiced outside this project, such as evaluating good or bad sides of characters, summarizing plots, creating report outline samples, expressing personal opinions. Illustration and practice on minor tasks are key before proceeding to bigger projects.
- How to write a book report for the 5th grade – 5th graders are somewhat more advanced in their competences. If they had at least one report assignment in previous grades, they should approach more complex projects.
- How to write a book report for the 6th grade – most elementary schools in US continue up to grade 6, hence, this is when students in primary education possess most evolved abilities, which translates in even more complex projects they can undertake (in particular, more complex readings). Also, these students are much better at individual work than younger ones.
- How to write a book report for college level – obviously, in this case, there is a qualitative leap in comprehension, thinking, ability to summarize, and synthesize information that simply outshines those of elementary, middle, or high school students. College students can approach complicated projects based solely on provided instructions without much clarification, they can self-organize and find the best strategies to accomplish corresponding sub-tasks, like completing book report outline, character description, etc. Finally, they can explore very complex or even professionally-related literature.
Read also: How to Format Dialogue Correctly (for books, essays, stories)
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College Book Report Template
The college book report template provided below gives good sense of what content should be included in report, how outline should be completed. You can use this outline as a structure for your own report, or just read it for inspiration before completing your essay:
1. Introduction. Here, bibliography elements should be listed (author's name, genre, publication date, publisher number of pages, etc.), main idea of the story (along with occasional lines for capturing reader’s attention).
Example: “The book “The Big Sleep” authored by Raymond Chandler and published in 1988 (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) belongs to the detective genre. It focuses on degrading morals of many representatives in society, as a side effect of capitalism/consumer culture.”
2. Summary. Here, one should list: setting, atmosphere, time of events, general plot (very brief), narrating perspective, but also main theme/argument.
“The narrative is set during the Depression, in the 1930’s in Los Angeles and Hollywood – at that time, a dark, rain-soaked, depraved, dangerous city jungle (an atmosphere portrayed in detail). Detective Philip Marlowe comes in contact with wealthy Sternwood family as part of his job. Here, he comes to know the Sternwood sisters and becomes involved in a series of events, which he investigates, revealing dark secrets they hide.”
3. Characters. One should outline here main characters as well as their pursuits/conflicts. Note that this section is only valid for fiction books.
The central characters are detective Philip Marlowe (the protagonist from whose perspective narration happens) and the Sternwood sisters: Vivian and Carmen. Marlowe is a fairly young gentleman, formal and polite, with high moral standards – he is a positive character (a moral gauge), always in his quest for truth. Vivian is the elder sister, very careful with her looks but with a rather vicious lifestyle (she becomes somewhat acquainted with Marlowe) and who is protective of Carmen. As for Carmen, she is an ill-mannered, ill-tempered, possessive, vengeful young lady – a truly negative character.
4. Plot. This section should contain the overall story, listing only major plot twists, conflict resolution, ending. Note that this section only applies to fiction books.
Example: As the head of the Sternwood family invites Marlowe to find out more about a disappeared relative, he finds out more about this family getting to interact with both Vivian and Carmen. After a series of adventures, Marlowe discovers that it is Carmen who killed missing relative (for refusing her romantically), while Vivian covered up the crime. Carmen even tries to shoot Marlowe, but Marlowe anticipates this and takes appropriate action.
5. Evaluation with Conclusion. The last part of report outline. Mention here whether you found reading interesting or not and why, what you felt and learned from it, what its strong/weak aspects are, etc. Note that this part should be rather brief, unlike in reviews, where analysis rather than summarizing is key.
Read also: Ask " write my lab report for me "!
Instant Outline Help
As one can infer from above, writing reports are fairly time-consuming reading book itself takes longest and even challenging. If you are out of time for any reason, our professional team of writers at Edubirdie can pick up your task and submit high-quality outline.
Importantly, with our service, you can request intermediary results, such as book report outline or draft, to assess whether projects are heading in the right direction, you can also guide writers by providing feedback. You are free to select your preferred expert according to ratings and in case final results do not match instructions or desired quality, you are guaranteed to benefit from unlimited free revisions. With such low risks and guaranteed outcome, it would be pity not to give it a try.
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How to Write a Book Report
Writing a book report, though it seems a tedious task offers you a great chance to understand the work of the author. The important thing you should understand is that you should straightforwardly provide an informative summary.
Your first step in writing a book report includes: identifying the right book and start reading. As you proceed, you should take detailed annotations and notes to help you develop a solid outline. Following these steps makes your writing process more comfortable. Your book report should address a particular point of view, ideas, or question and support it with examples and evidence from the book, such as themes and symbols. You should also include the author and the title of the book in your report.
Book reports are often assigned to students in high school and college, and if you’re one of those unlucky students WriteAnyPapers assignment experts are ready to help you!
What is a book report?
Book report provides insightful information regarding the specific work of the author. Though similar to the book review, book report has fundamental differences. A book review offers an analysis of the account of different types of books by providing a summary on the account and content. When writing the book report, evaluate why you chose it, and provide personal opinion or ideas concerning the text. Moreover, you can recommend the book to other readers based on your assessment and feeling towards it. In most cases, book reports are typically high school and college assignments. In rare cases, they are written by professionals and are published in journals, magazines newspapers, among other areas.
The main aim of writing book reports is to give a summary of a given literature work rather than providing an evaluation. Teachers provide this assignment for high school and college assignments to test their overview understanding of the book. College book report analysis helps the students to improve their communication and analytical skills. It also helps in the master of other techniques such as writing a bibliography and expressing their opinions and thoughts regarding various things they have learned from the book.
What elements a book report includes?
Your level of study determines the elements to include in the book report. Higher grade and middle-grade learners should consist of the following elements in their book report:
- Summary of the plot
- Theme analysis
- Character analysis
When writing a book report, you should explain to the author why they should read it pointing the interesting part of the book, how it is organized, ease of readability and understanding. Some of the elements you should capture include the following:
- The primary information concerning the book, including: author, page number, year of publication, title of the book, and publisher
- The setting of the book and the time in which the text is based
- Setting and plot of the text
- Names of the characters, facts about them and why they are interesting
- Examples and quotes from the book supporting your claim.
- Generally, when writing a college book report, include the following:
- Details of the book
This includes listing the name of the book, author, reason why you chose this book, is the title interesting or any other reason that prompted you to pick that specific book.
Offer detailed explanation on where the story took place in the farm, city, and forest, among others. How is the place set up? Here, you should give depth description of the area using as much information as possible.
These are the players in the story. You should state if there were the main character. Remember to include names for all the characters.
3. The story
You should offer a description of what happened in the story. Problems encountered by the characters’ themes. Remember to provide a detailed description of what happened in various scenes of the book.
4. Your thoughts
Here, you give your perception or feeling towards the book. Did you like the story, did you love how it is organized. Did the story made you feel happy, sad, and would you recommend someone to read the book?
How to start a book report?
1. read the book.
After you pick the book that interest you or the one required to read by your school or your teacher, make sure you have read the entire book. At this point, do not attempt to write anything but the first concentrate to read and understand the text. Pay attention to themes, characters, plot, and arguments.
You can take a break of 5 to 10 minutes and read for 40 minutes to one hour to keep your brain sharp and attentive.
Ensure you have enough time to read the book since writing a book report after scanning the text is disastrous.
Avoid online book summaries since they do not offer accurate information about the book.
2. Take notes on emerging themes and patterns
While reading, you should carefully take notes, use a pencil or a highlighter. If you are using an e-book, you can use notepad or word document to document your notes. Note the interesting things, character, or points made by the author. Establish enough evidence and detailed explanation to support your claim; for instance, use quotes directly from the text.
3. Develop an outline
An outline offers a guideline or direction on how your essay will be organized. A well-organized outline should include what each paragraph will discuss and relevant information for your book report. However, this might change as you write your report; therefore, you need to be flexible.
Review your outline again to ensues it is well organized and sensible. Ensure the paragraphs have flow and proper transition. Make sure to have an outline since it saves you a lot of editing. You can always use the following outline for your book report:
4. Develop paragraph ideas
Develop the ideas and concepts that you will include in every paragraph. Knowing what to include in every paragraph makes it easier for you to write the final copy and eliminates the chances of repeating concepts, ideas, or information.
How to write a book report in 4 Steps
1. start with the book details.
While writing a book report, you cannot include all the content in your essay. However, you start by providing the book details and some book report format requirements. You include the title of the book, the year it was published, the author, page number, book edition.
2. Continue with a brief summary of the book
Since it is not possible to cover everything in the book, you should provide a summary. By trying to cover everything you are setting yourself for failure. Therefore, you should focus on the most import ideas in the book and aim to give the reader a real feeling of the book.
3. Describe the book’s character and plot
Briefly describe the characters involved in the book, the roles they play, and how they enhance the theme. Describe the plot in details to help the reader picture the context of the book. You should mention the various where the scene takes place to help your teacher understand what you are referring to. However, you should ensure to provide sufficient details to help your audience understand the setting of the story. For instance, clearly, describe whether the setting is futuristic or imagined.
4. Summarize important points
Provide a summary of the important points you found in the book. In summary, assemble all the necessary information together by including quick statements that summarize the book. Remember to include a strong statement on whether you will recommend someone else to read the book and give a reason why.
How to write a book report at the college level
One of the common forms of assignment for college students is book report writing. These assignments assess, among other things, including critical thinking skills, analytical, and writing skills. They are more complicated compared to high school assignments. The following is an explanation of how to write a college-level book report.
College level paper for book report requires to write a summary and also provide informed evaluation and analysis of the text. The essay requires the student to use the proper format. Use proper style or template given by the teacher and example from the books recommended by the school to organize your bibliography and citations. It can be either MLA or APA .
You should include the following in your college-level book report:
- Your target audience
- Bibliographic information about your chosen text
- Background information about the text
- Write the thesis statement in your words and clearly.
- Book content summary
- Provide critical analysis and evaluation to support the claim from the text.
Creative book report ideas
You come up with a creative game based on your chosen text. Indicate the various section of the book report on the card. Design a raffle and ask students to choose them randomly. The raffles indicate the various outline of the book report, and the student will have to come up/design with an element of the book report depending on the raffle they select. These elements include:
- Setting/ plot
- Analysis and evaluation
- Your thoughts
Written by Karli Anderson
One of the most experienced writers in our team, Karli, has finished the Johns Hopkins University in Public Health. Apart from volunteering and educating children at Sunday Schools, Karli helps students worldwide and writes academic texts in such subjects as education, environmental health, and epidemiology.
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TIP Sheet WRITING BOOK REPORTS
It's likely that, whatever your educational goals, you will eventually write a book report. Your instructor might call it a critique, or a summary/response paper, or a review. The two components these assignments have in common are summary and evaluation.
Other TIP Sheets on related topics that might prove helpful in developing a book report, depending on the type of book and the specifics of your assignment, include the following:
- How to Write a Summary
- Writing About Non-Fiction Books
- Writing About Literature
Summary AND evaluation Typically, a book report begins with a paragraph to a page of simple information-author, title, genre (for example, science fiction, historical fiction, biography), summary of the central problem and solution, and description of the main character(s) and what they learned or how they changed.
The following example summarizes in two sentences the plot of Jurassic Park :
Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park describes how millionaire tycoon John Hammond indulges his desire to create an island amusement park full of living dinosaurs. In spite of elaborate precautions to make the park safe, his animals run wild, killing and maiming his employees, endangering the lives of his two visiting grandchildren, and finally escaping to mainland Costa Rica.
On the other hand, a thesis statement for a book report reflects your evaluation of the work; "I really, really liked it" is inadequate. Students sometimes hesitate to make judgments about literature, because they are uncertain what standards apply. It's not so difficult to evaluate a book in terms of story elements: character, setting, problem/solution, even organization. (See TIP Sheet Writing About Literature for ideas on how to handle these standard story elements.) Nevertheless, a good thesis statement should include your reflection on the ideas, purpose, and attitudes of the author as well.
To develop an informed judgment about the work, start by asking yourself lots of questions (for more ideas, see "Evaluation" on the TIP Sheet Writing About Literature). Then choose your most promising area, the one about which you have something clear to say and can easily find evidence from the book to illustrate. Develop this into a thesis statement.
For example, here is what one thesis statement might look like for Jurassic Park (notice how this thesis statement differs from the simple summary above):
In Jurassic Park , Crichton seems to warn us chillingly that, in bioengineering as in chaos theory, the moment we most appear to be in control of events is the exact moment control is already irredeemably lost to us.
To develop an informed judgment and a corresponding thesis statement about a book, brainstorm by answering questions such as the following:
- For what purpose did the author write this, and did he fulfill that purpose?
- What did the main character learn? Does this lesson reflect reality as you know it?
- Were the characters complex and believable? What do they reveal of the author? of human nature?
- How well did the setting contribute to the mood? How did setting affect character and plot development?
The invisible author One common mistake students make is failing to step back far enough from the story to evaluate it as a piece of work produced by someone . Evaluation–you may be surprised to learn it!–is as much about the author as about the story itself. It is about making informed guesses about the author's purpose, ideas, and attitudes based on his use of language, organization, plot, and character development.
Usually the author does not figure prominently in the story unless the book is autobiographical. More often he is the invisible persona–invisible, yet not absent. The author leaves traces of himself throughout. Paradoxically, your understanding of the author depends on your deliberate detachment from the story itself to discover those traces.
Imagine standing very, very close to a large painting–inches away. Your focus is on blobs of color, but you are unable to identify the object represented. When you move back a few steps and alter your focus, the blobs take on a recognizable form. In the same way, you have to draw back from the story to discern the purpose, ideas , and attitudes of the author.
Author's purpose No one goes to the trouble to write something without purpose. Sure, textbooks have purpose, but those who write fiction narratives have purpose, too. Even fantasy writers have purpose. A book report should include your evaluation of whether the author succeeded in his purpose.
The following writer has made a statement about the author's purpose:
Crichton seems not so much to be warning us of the evils of scientific inquiry as begging us, in a very convincing way, to exercise collective moral restraint on scientific research.
This writer would then go on to use quotations, examples, and evidence from the book to show why she believes this is Crichton's purpose.
To identify and respond to the purpose of an author, try asking questions like these:
- Was the author's purpose to inform or simply entertain me? Did I learn something? Was I entertained? Did I lose interest? If I lost interest, was this author, perhaps, writing to a different audience?
- Is the author trying to persuade me to think or act in a particular way? About what issue? What point of view would he or she have me adopt? Was I convinced?
Author's ideas The author's ideas may be stated by the author himself in a foreword, or they may show up in the words of a narrator or a principal character. The character Ian Malcolm, for example, is a primary spokesman for Crichton's criticism of post-modern science. Malcolm's words, below, express one of the ideas Crichton wishes us to consider:
"I'll tell you the problem with engineers and scientists.... They are focused on whether they can do something. They never stop to ask if they should do something."
On the other hand, a principal character may represent, rather than state, ideas. Hammond's visiting grandchildren, for example, might represent the oblivious, yet threatened, human populations of the mainland and the planet itself. When ideas are implied rather than stated, they are called themes.
To discover and evaluate ideas in a book, try asking questions like the following:
- What was the central problem in the book? Was it a personal, social, or moral problem? Does it relate to life as you know it?
- What ideas(s) about life and society does the author seem to hold?
- What did the principal character(s) learn? How did they change? What does this seem to say about people? About society? About morality?
Author's attitudes Once you have identified what ideas an author is trying to examine, you must still determine what the author's attitude is toward those ideas. An author's attitudes are revealed in part by the tone, or overall mood, of the work. In writing, as in conversation, tone is not so much stated as implied. In reading we depend solely on the emotional overtones of the words to infer the attitudes of the author.
For example, suppose you have determined that Crichton wishes to explore the idea of how private industry exploits scientific research. You must then determine, as well, what Crichton's attitude is toward this situation. Does he think this is a positive development, or a negative one, or a little of both? Does he think it is inevitable, or preventable? One way to figure out Crichton's attitude about this is to identify the tone he uses to tell the story. We describe the tone of a book with adjectives, and more than one if necessary: straightforward, complex, ironic, creepy, pathetic, bitter, comic, tragic.
For example, here is a statement using three different adjectives to describe Crichton's attitude toward one of the central problems in Jurassic Park :
Crichton strikes an ominous tone in Jurassic Park. Even though this is a cautionary tale, the author nevertheless is optimistic that the mainstream scientific community, represented in this story by Alan Grant, can learn restraint and respect for nature.
(When identifying the tone of a book, make the effort to distinguish an individual character's attitude from the author's overall attitude-they may differ.)
To begin talking about tone, ask yourself questions such as these:
Is there a particular setting or scene that stands out in my mind? What was the mood of that scene? Is this mood indicative of the entire book? Is the author an optimist, a pessimist, or a realist? How does he show it? Does a principal character experience one persistent state of mind or emotion? What would I call it? Is it indicative of the work overall? Did the mood of the work help or hinder my understanding of the author's ideas?
"In conclusion..." Clearly it is important to be able to make intelligent inferences about the author, because a book evaluation evaluates how well the author has done her job, not just how much you liked the story. After you have asked and answered that question, then you may add, "I really, really liked it."
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How to write outstanding college level book reports
Many generations of students from completely different areas have been facing the same common assignment: writing a book report. Book reports are very popular because professors like them, and they are not going to disappear anytime soon. However, students are rarely excited when they get a book report assigned. Book reports require you to not only read a book and understand its key concepts but also to provide a detailed analysis.
First, your book report must address the most important aspects, such as the title, information about the author, key information about the characters, and plot summary. These are the details that you would also provide in a book review, as well. However, a book report is different because you should also provide your personal opinion. The author’s point is usually presented in the form of a thesis statement and then supported with examples from the book. We decided to help you write an outstanding book report. Here are some useful tips.
Understand your assignment
First of all, you should know exactly what you’ve been asked to do. Make sure to clarify all the requirements, deadlines, and the necessary format. For example, if you’re being asked to write an essay, it can be an essay about the main theme of the book or about a particular character. Read your prompt carefully and don’t hesitate to talk to your instructor if you have any questions.
Read the book
Obviously, you need to read the book before writing anything about it. Many students prefer to skim through a book, looking for certain keywords and trying to select the most important passages. This is a very bad practice because, this way, you may miss something important. Make sure to dedicate enough time to reading.
Nathan Stewart, writer at LegitWritingServices advises: “Don’t copy information from book reports. On the one hand, it may seem that using reports written by professionals is a good idea, however you work will suffer from plagiarism issues.”
When reading a fiction book, make sure to write notes and focus on the following details:
- the setting;
- characters and connections between them;
- themes addressed in the book;
- literary symbols and metaphors;
- the author’s viewpoint.
When reading a nonfiction book, focus on the chapter titles to have a better understanding of the structure. Here are important things to consider:
- the general topic of the book;
- the most important events;
- the key characters and the way they impact the topic;
- new information that you’ve learned from the book.
Write an outline
We recommend that you write an outline before you start to write the book report itself. This way, it will be easier for you to create a proper report with a clear structure. Plan your report and think of what information you’re going to write first, and how you’re going to connect different sections so that your report will be logical and easy to read. Plan the introduction, body, and conclusion. Review your notes and select the best pieces of evidence to support your thesis statement.
Write a strong introduction
The introduction is one of the most important sections of a book report because it’s the first thing that your readers will see. Grammarly recommends writing a hook that will immediately grab the reader’s attention. A hook is basically one or two sentences that are aimed at capturing your reader’s attention. Write an explanatory introduction, mentioning the title of the book and the author. You should also explain what your report will be about. Even if you haven’t been asked to include a thesis statement in your report, having one will give you a certain advantage because your report will be more focused and specific.
Write body paragraphs
Use your outline and notes to write the main body of the report. Provide a brief plot summary and add your own thoughts, considering the themes of the book in the context of your topic and thesis statement. If it’s a nonfiction book, you should also explain the author’s thesis. Explain why the author uses a particular tone and style. Pay your attention to any symbols. Address the most important moments in the storyline, and use evidence from the book to support your own claims.
Write the conclusion
In the last paragraph of your book report, sum up your key points and the most important evidence. Some instructors may also ask you to restate the author’s name and the title of the book. The conclusion also gives you an opportunity to leave your readers with something to think about. For example, you can ask them a question related to the topic of your report, or consider the book in a broader context, drawing analogies between the events described in the book and important issues from real life.
Edit and proofread
Last but not least, you must edit and proofread your report, writing the final draft. Even the most talented writers need to write several drafts before their paper becomes perfect. We recommend that you never skip this important step. Take a break and then come back to your paper. Make sure that the structure is logically correct and all the sections are formatted according to the required style. Edit sentences that sound awkward or are hard to read. After this, proofread your report and fix any grammar or spelling mistakes. Also, don’t forget about the formatting of your paper. Use the standard MLA format in case your teacher hasn’t provided a specific format to follow.
Although writing a book report may seem to be a difficult task, you can make it much easier if you follow our step-by-step guide. Book reports allow you to demonstrate your understanding of various books and complex topics, as well as your analytical skills. We hope that our tips will help you write a book report that will impress everyone.
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How to Write Outstanding College Level Book Reports · Know the assignment · Actually read the book · Write a good introduction · Implement the ideas
Announce the book and author. Then, summarize what you have learned from the book. Explain what happens in the book, and discuss the elements you liked, did not
Hook the Reader's Attention. Think about what you experience in your daily life that captures your attention. · Provide Summary and Initial
College Book Report Template · 1. Introduction. Here, bibliography elements should be listed (author's name, genre, publication date, publisher number of pages
What elements a book report includes? · The primary information concerning the book, including: author, page number, year of publication, title
Typically, a book report begins with a paragraph to a page of simple information-author, title, genre (for example, science fiction, historical fiction
Use your outline and notes to write the main body of the report. Provide a brief plot summary and add your own thoughts, considering the themes
Not sure how to write a college level book report? Review this example to learn the step by step guide for writing a perfect book report.
Professay.com is a professional writing service. We are 24/7 online to help students with paper writing of all levels. We guarantee that our original custom
How to Write a Book Report at a College Level. Part of the series: Writing & Education. To write a book report at the college level