Crafting a Book Report Step by Step

A book report is a common assignment for high school and college students and one should know how to prepare it properly. There are several peculiarities of writing a book report and the student is able to learn about them below:

Step One: Read the Book

The initial step of book report writing is related with reading. The student should remember that he is supposed to read attentively in order to catch as many facts from the book as possible. It is wise to take notes scrupulously in order to avoid missing the descriptions of characters, events and various important objects found in the book. Moreover, if one records all the important issues – it is more than the half of the whole work, because he will not need to reread the book again to find the required description.

  • Take notes intensely. It only seems that you will remember your stellar ideas and insights about the plot, characters, etc. when you finish reading the book. The truth is, you won’t. You'll forget about 70%. Make notes immediately after you come up with some thoughts and make sure to note the page this thought came to you at — it will help you to make in-text citations faster.
  • Read the book even if there is a movie. Lots of students think that if there is a movie, they can watch it and not read the book based on which this movie was created. It is a way to disaster — movie directors often twist the plot, so it is better to watch the movie only as a secondary source, to compare with the book itself.

Step Two: Make a Helpful Outline

It is impossible to prepare a successful book report if one does not have a distinct plan of writing. The student must think about the organization of the logical text and a good outline will be very useful to achieve it. One should divide the report into three main parts: the introduction, the main part and the conclusion. Obviously, he is able to broaden the major section into the several sub chapters in order to present a professional description of the thought-provoking and important issue related with the book: the author, the characters, problems and conflicts, etc.

  • Imagine that another person will write a book report based on your outline and you care about that person. It means you should write it in detail, with the utmost attention to every point. Don’t mention broad points like “write a summary” without detailed subheadings explaining what exactly should be mentioned in summary.
  • Don’t be afraid to “waste time.” Yes, writing a high-quality outline is a time-consuming task, but once you have it, everything else will sail. You are not wasting time. You are saving it wisely. Did you know, that after coming up with the idea of a Harry Potter book, its author spent several years only composing the rules based on which that universe should exist?

Step Three: Write the Introduction

The introductory part provides the reader with the basic information about the book, its genre, the reason of the choice of the book, its style, author and its place in the world literature. Moreover, one can add that the book touches upon a certain thought-provoking problem or has a strong impact on the student.

  • Write it in the end. It is much easier to write an introduction when you are done when every other chapter. You will spend less time if you deal with the introduction the last.
  • Don’t forget about the problem statement. It is rather naive to think that only dissertation or research paper should have a problem statement. You should give a hint on why you have chosen this book, what do you expect to realize and feel, reading it, is there a paradox, etc.

Step Four: Create the Main Chapter

The main part is probably the heart of the whole report, because the student is supposed to open the whole potential of the book dwelling on the characters, plot, problems, time-period and comparison of the book with other books of the author and the books on the same theme. First of all one is expected to describe the time of writing (the historical period of the events described in the text) and then present a brief plot summary of the book. After that one should pay attention to the characters and their influence on the general view of the text and the development or solution of the problem under description. Finally, it is wise to write about the problems which can be found in the text and support the idea with the quotes from the book.

  • Would you like to read this book? Think about it. Of course, you are not supposed to write only good things, but you should make your reader interested in paying several dollars for the book. You should motivate a potential reader to quarrel with you, make his or her own analysis, etc. Don’t write only for your professor, write with a broader audience in mind.
  • Don’t overwhelm your readers. Even if you have an insight every abstract you read, it is not yet a reason to mention them in your main chapter. Choose the most exciting ones, and construct the body paragraph based on them.

Step Five: Summarize and Proofread the Report

In the end, the young person is supposed to evaluate the relevance of the book, define its importance for the personal development and self-education, touch upon the place of the book in the international literature and think about the strong and the weak sides of the text. When the report is written, one can proofread it attentively to be on the safe side.

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