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Wednesday Aug 22, 2018

A Guide on How to Write a Book Report

Books are the significant part of our society's life. They are especially important when you're studying in college. Of course, the first thing that comes to your mind is your textbooks, but sometimes, even a fiction book can become the center of your attention. You see, it is a widespread thing to get assigned with such a task that requires you to dive deep into some piece of creative writing. We're talking, of course, about a book report.

A lot of students face the question of how to write a book report. It would seem that it is quite easy - you just pen down all the thoughts you have on the plot and the meaning of the book you've read and then submit it without a second thought. But, believe it or not, it's slightly more complicated than that. We would live in a better world if all you had to do was just blurting out everything you know on the paper without proper structure or sense. No, unfortunately for some people, there are certain rules.

Before plunging into report writing, you need to make sure that you actually understand what you're dealing with. So, what is a book report? Simply put, it is an objective discussion of the book's contents and their meaning. You shouldn't confuse it with a book review. Where the review focuses on the evaluation of the book from a perspective of literary criticism, the report examines the book's plot and contents. Now when it's settled, let's find out what parts a book report has, and what they carry.

The Planning Stage

First of all, you need to be well-prepared before you can even start thinking about writing your report. The foremost step you have to take is actually reading the book. We advise you to find a good and quiet place and thoroughly read the book in full, sometimes noting down some thoughts, theses, and quotes you think will come in handy later.

Try to take breaks and don't overwork yourself. It won't be of any use if you just mindlessly skim the text without perceiving it. That's why you shouldn't leave your book report writing to last minute. Some books are very large, and just reading some Internet synopsis or CliffsNotes version is not enough. Only when you're sure you have everything you need noted down can you proceed to the next step.

Book Report Outline

One of the most important things about writing a top-notch report is making a plan. It will help you summarize your thoughts as well as make a book report outline that will make some sense. It just isn't productive to spurt everything you have on paper and hoping it will roll. You need to follow certain book report format establishing rules.

  • Separate all your notes into categories. Mark them as "introduction," "first paragraph," "conclusion," etc.
  • Single out the main point from each category and put it into the outline. You will use it as a topic sentence for every paragraph.
  • When the outline is done, go over it to make sure you've included everything of importance. Double-check if needed.
  • Don't forget to get all your sources in one place, if you have any. It's good when all the work you do is performed solely by you, but there's no shame in outsourcing.

After your outline is perfected, you can grab your notebook or a laptop and start writing. At this point in the process, you will have to know how to start a book report. Let's go!

General Structure of a Book Report

How you build your report is important for several reasons. First of all, the overall look of your report has to look completed and full. It also has to resemble a building, with all the parts required for construction in place and performing their functions. And what is a building without a foundation?

The introduction

Every student that seeks to master the art of good academic writing needs to know how to write an introduction for a book report. Now, don't panic, but this part is different from all other introductions you may have encountered while writing your college essays.

  1. Point out the author of the book, its title, and the year it came out. Try to include some background information - who's published it, whether it was made into a movie, whether it set the trend for writing about certain plots, etc.
  2. Indicate author's thesis and the meaning they assigned to their book as an overall piece of writing. Try avoiding stating your own opinion - once again, that's for book reviews.
  3. Compose your own thesis. Further, in the main body, you will have to support it with textual evidence.

Central (or Body) Paragraphs

The main body of your book report is the most vital one. Here, you will have to provide the summaries of the different parts of the book you're analyzing and state how certain details prove your thesis. Book report body paragraphs must include the following:

  • Main Events
    Point out the main plot events that showcase your thesis. Describe the setting, the characters involved, the physical and empirical significance of the scene.
  • Main Conflicts and their Resolution
    Write about the conflicts between characters, or character and nature/society, or conflicts of different classes, etc. The choice is yours and the author's. Pinpoint the main problems, how they were resolved or left unattended, and how they correlate with your thesis.
  • The Symbolism
    Here, you need to define the main messages of the book. What important symbols did the author incorporate? What do they teach the reader? At this stage, it's advisable to consult outside sources for better understanding. Experienced critics have already analyzed the book and found everything it carried, and you can miss something. So don't shy away from outsourcing.


Once everything is outlined, it's time to learn how to write a conclusion for a book report. Go over your introduction and main body once again and summarize them but avoid repeating everything word by word. Show how exactly you proved your thesis.

Then, comes the last stage of your book report paper writing. Here, you can finally unleash the analytical beast inside and explain your own opinion about the book. Why did you choose to read it? What did you like about it? What didn't you like? What meaning does it carry for you personally? How can it contribute to the education of the younger generation or society as a whole? What is the significance of the whole thing, in your own opinion? Give your reader something to think about!

Other Book Report Writing Tips

As a farewell, let us give you some final tips about writing a book report.

Try not to be too subjective. Your opinion is, without question, valid, but everything has already been analyzed by dozens of people before you. Especially, if it's an old book. Don't wander off into the Forest of Analysis because, once again, you're writing a report on the book, not its review. You only need to create a picture for your readers that will allow them to find out the plot of the book without actually reading it.

Don't forget to proofread and edit your work. Don't neglect double- or even triple-checking it for mistakes. Ask someone else to go over it. Having someone unbiased look at your book report is much better than reading it five times over by yourself. And don't be afraid to outsource! If you ever encounter any problems, there are tons of writing services that are willing to help you out.

And now, if you read everything carefully and attentively, you know how to write a good book report. So grab that knowledge, the book you need to write a report on, and charge into academic battle!

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