Reading books is pleasurable and entertaining; writing about those books isn’t. However, learning how to write a book report is something that is commonly required in university. Fortunately, it isn’t as difficult as you might think.
The main book report types are: plot analysis, character analysis, and thematic analysis.
Want to learn more? Just keep reading this article by Custom-writing.org experts! It contains all the necessary information about book report writing: types, basic rules, essential elements, and great book report ideas.
A book report is a particular type of writing which is intended to give the reader the general idea of a specific work. Even though it is considered a typical college assignment, you can find book reports containing up to five hundred words in magazines and newspapers.
In case you are wondering what you should put in a book report, here is a list of the most common elements:
- description of the characters
- main themes and ideas
The following sections of this article break down every step of the writing process for you! Moreover, there is a note regarding non-fiction book reviews since they are slightly different.
📜 What Should be Included in a Book Report?
- The title and the author of the book. This basic information is necessary to include in any book report.
- Background information. Here you need to focus on the reasons why the author wrote the novel.
- Summary of the content. Here you summarize the primary ideas of the novel.
- Examples. If you present an opinion on the book that you’re reporting on, you need to support it with quotes and examples from the text.
🚦 Book Report: Basic Types
Plot Summary & Analysis
For a book summary & analysis, just to retell the story is not enough. It should provide the reader with your general impression of the book and its significance. You need to make a plot analysis, present your opinion on the story, and provide supporting examples from the text.
Below are the plot summary & analysis writing tips.
|✔️||Avoid retelling the plot and share your feelings instead.|
|✔️||Explain your overall opinion and impression of the book, keeping a positive slant on the writing.|
|✔️||Make sure you support all your arguments and opinions with evidence from the book.|
It is here where you will explore the traits (both personality and physical) of the various characters and discuss how their actions affect the book’s plot and outcome.
Below are the character analysis writing tips.
|✔️||Explain the impression a character leaves behind. Does this character fit into the era in which the book is set? Is he or she typical for the period? Remember that in books written after the 19th century, a character usually cannot be considered purely positive or negative.|
|✔️||Discuss each character’s gestures, mannerisms, way of speaking, style of dress, and the author’s general description.|
|✔️||Indicate whether or not there is a “fatal flaw” that regularly causes a character to get into trouble.|
|✔️||Make sure you support all your arguments and opinions with evidence from the book.|
A theme is a large idea that goes throughout the book. A themes analysis is a great way to deal with more significant literary works.
Below are the tips for writing a themes book report.
|✔️||Explain the theme, including how and when it is depicted in the book.|
|✔️||Provide examples and quotations from the text to support your analysis and carefully explain each of them.|
|✔️||Discuss how the theme has impacted you and your enjoyment when reading the book.|
📑 Book Report Outline
A strong book report must include the components described below.
It is at this point of the outline that you hook the reader and draw them in. In a very intriguing manner, the introduction must:
- Be powerful and enlightening without being lengthy
- Provide some basic information about the book
- Define the book’s message as you see it
- Let the reader know what you are planning to analyze
In this part, you need to make a brief overview of the book’s plot, setting, and characters. Imagine that you’re presenting the book to someone who didn’t read it. There’s no need to describe all the details of the story. Focus on the most important things.
The body is the central part of your book report. Here you provide your analysis of the book. Its content will depend on what type of essay you need to write. However, some basic tips will help you write a good book report body.
- Include in your book report body a minimum of three paragraphs and provide one main idea for each.
- For each paragraph, provide a topic sentence, proof for your arguments, and a concluding sentence.
- Make sure you stick to your outline and find a good balance between the general and the specific.
- Afford transition words and sentences that ensure the reader can move smoothly from one paragraph to the next.
Here you concisely summarize your report. Write one to two paragraphs that cover the arguments you made and the substantiating evidence. You can also discuss the book’s contributions to its field and provide recommendations for the reader and a conceivable direction for further research. End with a one-sentence summary that asserts your overall opinion.
👣 How to Write a Book Report Step by Step
There is a slight but essential difference between book reports and reviews. The latter focuses on analyzing and evaluating the writing. Basically, you would give your opinion on the chosen book. The report, on the other hand, is created from a more objective point of view. If you need some help with writing one, here is a short guide for you.
Book Report: Preparation Stage
Before you start reading a chosen book, make sure you know the necessary information about it: author, title, genre, publication. Think about the questions below.
|❔||Have you ever heard of this author?|
|❔||What category of people generally read this genre?|
|❔||Does the title intrigue you? What can you say about the content of the book based on it?|
|❔||What can you say about the cover and images included inside?|
Book Report: the Stage of Reading
You shouldn’t just carelessly read the book since your main objective is writing a report. Therefore, take notes about the characters, ideas, and quotes that you find exciting.
|❔||Can you identify the main characters? Who are the antagonist and the protagonist?|
|❔||What are the theme and the main idea of the book? Are there any unexpected plot twists?|
|❔||What makes you want to quote the particular parts of the book?|
Writing Your Book Report
First of all, introduce the book and its author. Then, include a summary and discuss the main points that you wrote down. You might want to comment on the elements you liked and the parts you think need some change. Consider the following hints you may refer to while writing down book report ideas.
|❕||Think of the author’s writing style and the book’s characters.|
|❕||The central part of your report should be a summary of the book, not your opinion about it. Only after you present all the information you can highlight the themes and character analysis.|
|❕||In your short evaluation, you may include a discussion of the book’s prominent motifs and ideas. You can also compare it to the author’s other books.|
|❕||In the end, it might be a good idea to drop a few words of recommendation. How did you like the book in general? Would you recommend it to your friends and why?|
Editing & Proofreading Your Report
Except for grammar and punctuation, you should pay attention to the spelling of the names in your report. Take your time and double-check everything. As the final touch, you can also add some meaningful quotes.
If you’re looking for additional advice on how to edit and proofread your texts, check out our article on the topic!
👨🔬️ Non-Fiction Book Report
Writing a non-fiction book report becomes challenging when you are not an expert in a subject that the author works on. No need to panic. We prepared a short guide for you, which consists of only two main parts. While reading the book, take notes about the author’s conclusions, recommendations, methodology, and thesis statement. If you are ready to get to the writing process, divide your report into the following sections.
|✔️||Description||It is the introductory part of your work, so make sure you include at least some information about the author. Then try to find out the book’s background: historical, political, and scientific context. It can give you some hints on its significance later.|
Mention the purpose of the book: educate, amuse, or persuade. Then, describe the main idea or thesis statement, which the author most likely put in the introduction or conclusion. After that, don’t forget to write a few words about how the work is organized. It usually depends on the non-fiction book type. For example, historical events may be presented chronologically or grouped around central issues.
Finally, the summary you need to add can vary depending on your audience. If your readers are unfamiliar with the subject, it should be more thorough. To figure it out, consult with your supervisor.
|✔️||Evaluation||Reading a couple of other reports can help you create your own point of view. However, don’t forget that if you use any of the ideas from others’ works, you should always credit them.|
Next, you need to evaluate the author’s expertise. However, it might be challenging if you know little about the chosen topic. In this case, look through the list of references the author provides and check if there are any unsupported statements.
In the end, write about the book’s pros and cons. Here, feel free to express your opinion regarding the writing style and work’s importance in the field.
🔤 Book Report Tips
Let’s summarize the article and highlight several important tips on how to write a book report.
- Write the book review in the third-person, present tense.
- Ensure each paragraph is well-developed and that the paragraphs flow well from one to the next.
- When writing about the author, discuss their judgments, writing ability, and primary achievements in their writing.
- Always support your opinions with substantial evidence and arguments taken from the book.
- Be sure to discuss the main characters and the immediate problems they face in the book.
- Summarize the book; do not go into a detailed retelling of it.
- Be sure to provide a detailed analysis of the author’s intended message and how it is delivered.
- Remember that book report essays must remain objective in their analysis of the book’s content and structure.