How to Write a Book Report?
A book report is one of the most common academic writing compositions, especially because this is one of the types of academic writing that students are exposed to since grade school. A book report is an easy writing exercise, and is meant to determine the aptitude of the students in reading comprehension. Book reports are basically extended summaries of a specific reading requirement, however, it is still important to note that an error in understanding the literature, whatever it may be, will automatically be an error in a book report. Even though book reports are detailed summaries, an excellent book report still needs to be supported by critical information.
Main Parts of a Book Report
There are several ways in organizing or writing a book report. Before learning how to write a book report, first, understand that all book reports are primarily composed of at least the following key elements:
- Bibliographical Information. This refers to all the initial information that a teacher will look for in evaluating a book report: the title, the author, and the publishing year. There are books which have a number of editions, and that is an important element to mention as well. Be as specific as possible since none of these key points is negotiable - all of them must be included in the report.
- Character/s. Most book reports require the student to enumerate the characters, discuss the significance of each character, and indicate the connections among them (e.g. familial links, relationships). Again, the goal is to determine whether you understood what you read or not.
- Setting. Setting refers to the location and time frame of the story. For example, 18th century, France. Some books can have multiple settings, hence, make sure that you list down all settings. Note that a book report is an extended summary, hence, be thorough in discussing the details. It is easy to confuse readers, especially if a book changes its settings.
- Theme/s. This is where you will start to become critical – explore the theme or themes involved in the story, and justify why you think that theme is present in the book. If you have a limited room for discussion, you may focus on one or two themes in your book of choice, and use specific lines or parts of the book to prove your analysis.
- Plot. In general, plots are written in a maximum of 300 words, however, this can go reach up to 500 or 600 words depending on the requirements given by your teacher. Note that in lower grades, students are asked to provide only a plot summary. In higher grades, this section may require you to include a little bit of analysis to ensure that you understood the story and its meaning/s.
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Key Points in Learning How to Write a Book Report
Writing a book report is an easy task to many, but for some who are not comfortable with writing or in a race against time, it can be a huge dilemma. So, before starting to write a book report, the student must first do the following tricks to make the task so much easier:
- Do not consider cramming. Cramming or procrastination is stalling the things you could and should have already done. Seriously, cramming never works for anything. It will only give you extra pressure because you now have to defeat time aside from the book report alone. Furthermore, panic will disable you to take control of your thoughts. Do what you can do now, and skip all the hassle later. Besides, it will feel really great if you finish your task sooner that expected, because then you can just relax and refresh your mind and be more productive.
- Read with a dictionary beside you. The number one reason why a student cannot understand a story is because of words or terms which they are not familiar of. For children’s books, this may not be necessary, however, college students are often required to submit a book report on classic World Literature or stories using British English (and vice versa). Not understanding a word can be a key to disaster later on, because often students only realize that they did not understand a thing because they skipped consulting a dictionary for every term they do not know.
- Read pre-written book reports on your story. Opposite to cramming, doing research can only do you good, and nothing bad. Consulting available book reports on your book will give you a lot of ideas to keep in mind as you read the book, and it will also allow you to skip mini mental puzzles because you will be equipped with mental notes as a guide in reading that story.
- Seriously, just read the book. There is no other tip or trick that will enable you to write your own book report. Note that you cannot write about something you do not know, so read that book now, or choose a book that you love if possible.
- Get professional writing assistance. There are a lot of circumstances that can leave students incapable of handling a book report task or any other academic writing task. Personal emergencies, sudden sickness, family issues, work-related concerns, or mental and physical fatigue – you name it. Whatever it is, availing a professional writing service can save your grade from danger. Just make sure that you are getting a custom book report writing service, so you can rest assured that your instructions will be followed.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write a Book Report
Now that you know the key points or elements in writing a book report, you can now proceed with getting the book report done.
1. Read your book.
We will not get tired of reminding you to actually read your book. The only way to complete an A+ book report is to actually understand the story as well as the relationship of the elements of the story with each other. Do not attempt to write your book report as you read because that will just confuse you. The reading part must come first before the writing part, and the only writing you should do while you are reading is for quick notes – names, page numbers for quotes, etc.
2. Make notes.
Notes will allow you to keep track of the key events in the story, however, do not be frantic when making notes because you will end up noting every word in the book. Remember that notes are just short reminders for you to revisit a part of the book later as you do your analysis. Your notes should be about the symbols, evidences, or any key points or clues you feel are important to understand the story. Tip: Do not make your notes as early as the first ten to fifteen pages. Instead, read at least two chapters of the book before starting with the notes. This will help you refresh your memory as well, and identify the lingering themes in the first few chapters. If you cannot seem to find anything that is worth noting yet, then just continue reading until the plot builds up.
3. Organize your notes.
Once you are done reading, organize your notes according to the main sections of a book report (Characters, Setting, Themes, Plot Developments) or according to the sections you need to discuss as required by your teacher. This is also the time to go back to the book if you missed a few details necessary for your book report.
4. Begin reiterating the story for your reader.
This is where you will fill out the sections of the book report. Simply collate your notes and turn it into descriptive report because for the main parts, your book report must summarize and describe the details of the book. Note that the biggest difference between a book report and a book review is the purpose of the document – a book report must retell the details of the book, while a book review must challenge the details of the book.
5. Evaluate your thoughts.
Just because a book report is focused on summarizing and describing the book does not mean you will not assess the meanings behind the story. If your book report requires you to provide a section of critical literary analysis, then you should allow yourself to share your opinions about the story. You can include the following details in your evaluation:
i. Identify the intended audience for the book – is it for children, for young adult, for career women, or for people who need to understand the value of self-love? Whatever it is, be as specific as possible, and provide an evidence to support your idea.
ii. If it is interesting and significant (and only if you have an extra room for discussion), discuss how the author came up with the story. For example, Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven has a heartbreaking story behind it that can make a person break into tears upon hearing the song. More importantly, you might get additional points for taking your time to research that information.
iii. Compare and contrast the book to its film adaptation (if it has one) or to another book which revolves around the same theme/s.
iv. Challenge the thesis of the book. Challenge the development of the characters. Is the story appropriate to its settings? Was the author able to portray the very essence of the story well? What could be a better ending for you? What do you feel about the story, the characters? Feel free to share your thoughts with your readers, because that is how they will know that you understood what you read.
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