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Tips On Writing A Book Report

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/11/2012

Are you confused about how to write a book report? Did your teacher give you what you consider to be an insane amount of words needed for the book report? Relax, this book report guide with tips on a writing book report will lead you step by step through the process!

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    The Basics of Book Reports

    Your teacher asked for a book report. Maybe you don't even like the book, much less want to write anything about it! Keep this book report guide and tips on writing a book report handy as you read the book so you can fill out the information as you go! This guide will be specific on what is included in a book report. That's because some book reports are required to be longer than others. The shorter the book report, the more specific items you can omit or not include in the report.

    Keep in mind as you pull it all together that book reports are supposed to give an idea of what the book was about. Generally, teachers like to know that you got the idea of the story. What the teacher would like to do is to read the book report as if he or she never read the book. They want to know what the book was about from the viewpoint of a person who never read it. Book reports generally include the following information: Who, what, where, why and how. Keep that in mind as you write your report.

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    A Book Report Guide

    This is a list of what is included in a book report.

    • Introduction: Introduce the main characters of the story and where it takes place at. Use descriptive phrases so that the reader can "get a feel" for the topics. For example: "Tom Young, the local shoe salesman in the one horse town of Hamlet, was actually a secret writer." gives more information than "Tom Young lived in Hamlet". If this is a brief book report of 400 words or so, then introduce the characters and the places in combined sentences like the one in the example. If the book report is longer than that, use descriptive individual sentences for characters and places in the introduction. However, keep in mind that the introduction is just that; an introduction of the characters and the setting or place that the story takes place in. This portion answers the questions "who?" and "where?".
    • Body: This is the part of the book report that explains the story. Now that the characters have been met and the reader has an idea of where the story is taking place, they want to know what the story is about. Once again, if this is a 400 word book report then this portion should be about a paragraph long and give the general idea of what the story is about. What are the characters doing and how are they doing it? Of course, the longer the book report, the more paragraphs this section should be and the more details it should include. This is the largest portion of the book report.
    • Conclusion: In this portion of the book report, you generally answer the question of "Why does this story exist?". Was there a lesson to be learned? There usually is. This is where you can put what you learned from the story and what the characters themselves may have learned. Again, if this is a brief book report then this portion should consist of about one paragraph. This is where you sum everything up.

    The next section will give you some tips on how to get started writing your book report.

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    Tips on Writing A Book Report

    These tips should be reviewed before you actually start writing the report. They can save you a lot of trouble if you use them!

    • Actually read the book. If watching the movie helps you understand the book, then by all means watch it. But beware that movies often do not include details that are found in the book, so you will still have to read it.
    • Make an outline where you can keep your notes. The outline should include the sections above. When you go to write the report, it will simply be a matter of tying everything together.
    • Write the report as if you were telling a friend about the book. In the first draft of the report, don't worry about things like grammar and punctuation. You can go back later and fix those things. This is the time to simply get the information down on paper.
    • Once the report is written, read over it. Does it make sense to you? Ask an adult to read over it. Can the adult get the idea of the story from reading your report?
    • Review the report for grammar and punctuation. This is the part where you have already gotten all your information down on paper. Now you need to make it look good! If your report comes up short, go back over it and see where you may be able to add some facts relevant to the story or some descriptive phrases that will help the reader "feel" the story.
    • Don't forget to include a title page. This always looks good on a book report even if it isn't required. The title page should include your name, the book title and the author's name.