Step by Step Guide on Writing a Book Report

What is a book report?

A book report is a type of writing that summarizes work of fiction or non-fiction and provides a short analysis of the key elements of the book, including the tone, characters, plot, and story background. It requires the writer to develop their own opinion about the original content’s meaning and use interpretations and examples from the text to support their statements. A book report is closely similar to a book review; however, the two are different in the following ways.

A book review provides an important account of the content, including its summary, examining its value, a personal opinion on whether it’s recommended to other readers. On the other hand, a book report focuses primarily on providing a summary of the book than analyzing it. In most cases, book reviews are done at the college level or by professionals to be published in newspapers, academic journals, or magazines. On the other hand, book reports are synonymous with academics as assignments for high school students.



Process of writing a book report

Below are the key steps to writing an outstanding book report

Pick a book carefully

The first step to writing a good book report is choosing a book that interests you. There are cases where the teacher or instructor gives the book to report about, in which case you don’t choose. However, given the freedom to choose, select a book about which you are comfortable reporting. A book you are comfortable with means that the story, the author, genre, or the writing style interests you. This will boost the drive and passion for reading to understand because you enjoy the story or its style.

Read the book

This may not be everyone’s style but reading the whole book is the best way to understand the author’s line of thoughts and the whole story to effectively present it in a report. Some students would prefer looking for online summary notes and details. However, this may limit your ability to effectively capture the author’s thoughts and style because people writing the online summaries have different writing styles. Moreover, the online summaries may not capture the main theme of focus for your report.

Take note of the important points

As you read the book, note the important points and key issues presented in the book. These will act as guides during the report writing process. Taking note of important points will also ensure that you narrow down your report to the required length otherwise you might end up reproducing the book. There are different ways of note-taking, but the best one is the pen and paper method.

Take note of the relevant and important quotes

As you provide a summary of the book, you will need direct quotes or examples to reinforce your points. They will add weight to the report by giving evidence from the book to support your personal opinions or analysis. It is recommended that you focus on the quotes that relate to the main topic of the book.

Create an outline

When ready with the resources, it is important to have an outline to act as a guide throughout the report writing process. An outline simply provides a list of the important points of focus for your report. It helps you stay organized and focused.

Write the book report

This is the last step which involves putting the information gathered into writing. Use the outline to create a logical flow of ideas that captures the main points presented in the book.

What to consider when reading a book for report writing

The following points are important to guide your reading process to create an outstanding book report.

●Before you start reading the book, have an objective for your writing. An objective can be questions you seek to answer or the main theme of the book you intend to focus on

●As you read the book, pay attention to details such as symbolism provided by the author

●Mark the pages with interesting information using sticky flags to act as points of references during your writing

●Identify any emerging themes developed by the author, as these will form the basis of your writing.


Structure of a book report


The first paragraph of the introduction of your book report should consist of a brief summary of the plot and your personal statement. It should also contain the title and author of the book and a description of the characters, setting, and main issues in the book.


The body section contains a detailed summary of the book as well as your thoughts and impressions of the book. You should focus on the main incidences presented in the book and provide an analysis of how the setting and characters all together form the theme. This is also the point where you employ the relevant quotes from the author to support your points. Explain any conflicts in the story and how they are resolved. The following questions should be considered in writing the body section:

  1. What was the genre of the book?
  2. Were there any reoccurring symbols?
  3. Which characters were key to the development of the theme?
  4. What was the theme of the book?
  5. Which writing style did the book adopt
  6. What tone did the author use?
  7. Were there any conflicts and how were they resolved?
  8. Was there any form of bias?
  9. What lesson did you learn from the book?
  10. What message was the author trying to pass across and was it successful?
  11. How does the book compare with others written by the same author or on the same subject?


In the final paragraph of your book report, restate the book’s main theme and give a statement as to whether you recommend the book to others or not accompanied with an explanation for your reasons. Some of the questions to consider in concluding your report include:

  1. Were the author’s ideas supported by strong evidence (for nonfiction)?
  2. What were some of the interesting facts about the author?
  3. Was the ending satisfactory?




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