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Tips on Book Report Writing

Book report writing is not easy, but it provides students with comprehensive understanding of a literary work and the motives that the author had before writing it. While in book review you need to provide a literary analysis, in book report you need to merely summarize the book plot. So, if you weren’t assigned a specific book for summarizing, pick the most interesting one and start reading. Make sure you make notes in the process of reading. In particular, you will want to jot down the names of the main characters, the relations between them (i.e. family relations whatsoever), the most important turn of events, etc. After you have a collection of notes, you need to compose a book report outline as it will help you to better structure the final draft of the book report.

Rules and Principles of Structuring Book Report Layout

  • Make sure you write a well-structured outline

When outlining the book report, make sure you have carefully read the paper requirements. You need to make sure you follow each task. Therefore, always double-check if you have overlooked some part of the assignment or not. Whenever some parts of the assignment seem complex or difficult, do not be shy to ask your professor for more detailed clarifications. Check on whether you need to include direct quotations – if yes, make sure you make screenshots of them if you are reading an e-book or write them out if you are reading a printed book.

Although many students think that reading a short book summary will suffice, actually it is the biggest mistake that could lead to a low mark. When you need to write a report, always make sure you have enough time to read the whole book. In such way you won’t omit any important details and will be more immersed into the book plot and different unexpected turns of events.

Make notes during the process of reading. You may either highlight some important moments or exact wordings in the book or just jot down some important facts on a piece of paper. Always highlight when some new characters are introduced into the story plot.

When writing the very outline, make sure you split the body of the report into well-organized paragraphs. Formulate strong and clear topic sentences at the beginning of each body paragraph. After finishing, make sure that all the ideas are logically related. Make sure that each idea put forward in the topic sentence is further properly supported with sufficient examples and specific quotes from the text. When providing quotations, make sure you do not get obsessed with the process – your paper should not be a compilation of quotes and citations.

  • Write the main body of the report

Start your book report with an introduction, where you provide sufficient background information on the book. Make sure you start with a strong opening sentence. The introduction should grab readers’ attention from the very beginning. Do not make the introduction too long and wordy. Actually, the length of the introduction depends on the required paper length, but make sure it is an introductory paragraph – not a whole page.

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Describing the book setting is a great way of reporting the book. Actually, this is the basic information that will help readers get comprehensive understanding what the book is about and what it deals with. Mention location, main characters, and their relations. You might also want to include the central conflict of the story. Also keep in mind that you need to provide a general book summary where you specifically state how the characters are related, what events make them connected, and how they impact their life.

As you mention a book character, make sure to briefly state who he/ she is and what role he/ she plays in the story. If you start writing about a specific character, it should be clear to the reader why the character is important and what role he/ she plays in the story.

Focus only on the main themes and arguments – do not try to cover everything because all this information is impossible to fit into one short paper.

  • Finishing writing the book report

Finish the paper with a strong and succinct conclusion, where you pinpoint once again the most important aspects of the discussion. You may also want to state whether you recommend the book to your target audience or not (and why). Do not forget to proofread the book report before submitting it.

Wish you all the best! Good luck!

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