How to Write a Book Report: Top Tips for Success


How to Write a Book Report: Top Tips for Success

Wondering how to write a book report that can demonstrate your understanding of the author’s major ideas, impress your teacher, classmate, get you a high grade?

Writing an effective book report can be a challenging assignment for many students because it requires that you should analyze a large amount of information in comparatively small space, discuss the writer’s main themes, the plot of the story, and characters from an objective stance. But don’t get discouraged!

In this guide, we will describe in details how to write a book report college level; we will provide you with top tips on how to successfully organize the paper writing process. Keep reading to learn about the basic steps needed for completing college book report projects.

What Is a Book Report?

A book report is an informative piece of writing. Book reports are similar to book reviews but there are some important differences. Let’s compare reports and reviews.

A book review is a critical account of a fiction or non-fiction book where you have to give a summary of the content, assess the value of the book, and express your personal opinion whether you recommend or don’t recommend it to other potential readers. Typically, book reviews are college assignments. They can be also written by professionals; book reviews are published in newspapers, magazines, academic or scientific journals.

Book report projects focus mostly on giving a summary of a literary work than an evaluation of it. Teachers assign them to middle and high school students. These academic papers can take different forms, ranging from 250 to 500 words and include different elements according to their grade level.  

Why do students have to write book analysis? Writing book reports helps any student improve analytical and communication skills and practice expressing their thoughts and opinions about different aspects of the books they have read.

What Elements Should a Book Report Include?

Middle grade-level book reports, as well as projects for students of higher grades, may be of three types:

  • plot summary
  • theme analysis
  • character analysis

No matter what type of paper you are going to write, make sure to include certain basic points that can help you explain to your reader why this book was interesting. You can find them on the following list.

  • Key details about a book, including title, author, publisher, year of publication, number of pages
  • Time when the story takes place
  • Setting and plot of the book
  • Names of the characters you will be discussing and certain facts about them, for example, their character description
  • A lot of examples and quotes from the book to support your point of view

Any good book report example should contain these elements.

Steps of Writing a Book Report

Looking for advice on how to start a book report? Before we start discussing how to write a book report college level, let’s briefly outline what you should do at the pre-writing stage.

Pre-writing Steps

  1. Choose a book for your analysis - find out some basic information you will need to get started: author, title, genre.  Think what aspects of the book spark your interest.  
  2. Start reading and make notes. When you read a book of fiction or a biography, keep track of the main characters, their actions, key events, and settings. Determine major topic and symbols. When reading nonfiction books, focus on identifying the main ideas, be ready to talk about them.  
  3. Choose direct quotes from the text that can be included in your paper to support your arguments.  
  4. Organize your notes: categorize items you have written under certain headings, sub-headings, bullet points, lists. Check if you have enough information to write about each category.  

Put Your Notes into Actions

Now it’s time to share your opinion - inform your friends and teacher why this book is worth their attention. How to do a book report that will make a powerful impression on your audience? It’s easier than you might be thinking - figure out connections between elements and try to discover their hidden meaning.  Besides, you should stay creative.

  • In the introductory paragraphs of your book reviews, you should announce the author, the book, the date of publication. Introduction should contain a sentence that explains the subject of a novel or a story. This sentence should analyze book’s genre, give a brief overview of the meaning.
  • Essential part of your paper is the body. You should present an extended summary of the book, identifying author’s thesis, give some remarks about the writer’s tone, writing style.
  • In conclusion, you should include a few sentences about the impact the book had on you and state whether you can recommend it. This part summarizes your ideas. You can offer your own opinion of the book. Consult your assignment guidelines to ensure that the concluding paragraph meets specific requirements of your teacher.   
  • Revise the final copy. Improve logic and flow of your paper by adding transition words - add some interesting quotes if you feel they are necessary.  Check your grammar, punctuation, and spelling.                                                             

Writing a College Level Book Report

Book reports are common tasks for college students that help to assess their writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills. They are more complicated assignments than high school papers. How to write a book report college level?

The steps in writing this type of assignment for college are actually the same as when creating a paper for high school. But college-level papers require that you should write a book summary and provide critical analysis or evaluation of the text. And don’t forget about formatting. You should use one of the appropriate academic styles to organize the citations and bibliographical information: MLA, APA, Chicago etc.

Your academic work should include:

  • The bibliographical information under the title of your academic paper
  • The intended audience of the book you are analyzing
  • The background information about the circumstances that led to the creation of the book
  • The subject of the book and the thesis statement (in the author’s own words)
  • The summary of the book’s content
  • Critical evaluation supported with evidence from the book
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When writing your summary of a book, you should keep in mind that it has to follow the author’s order. Include the key ideas that develop the author’s argument.  Present the book’s summary with the analysis of the structure.

Book reports and book reviews help students learn to summarize, analyze, compare and contrast, provide a clear, logical and effective argument, paying attention to every detail. You will need these skills throughout your entire life.  We hope that these easy tips on how to write a book report from experienced writers will help you succeed in completing your own projects.

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