How to Write Book Report

How to Write Book Report

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Introduction to Book Reports

At some point in their scholastic career, every student will be required to know how to write a book report. It can be a great assignment especially for students who want to perfect reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. The first step towards book report writing is to pick a book and read it. As you go along, you should take detailed notes and annotations as these will help you build a solid outline.

What Fundamentals Should a Book Report Include?

The book report may be of three types:

Plot summary

Theme analysis

Character analysis

Whichever the paper you are going to write, make sure that you include primary points that will help you explain to your reader why the book was fascinating. Find them on the following list:

Book key details should include, title, author, number of pages, publisher, year of publication.

The time when the story takes place.

Plot and setting of the book.

Particular facts and names of the character that you will be discussing.

Examples and quotes from the book to support your point of view.

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How to Write a Book Report College Level

In college, most students find themselves tasked with writing a book report. The steps for writing a book report require formatting, book summary, and providing an evaluation of the text. You should also use the correct academic style such as MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.

Your academic work should include:

The bibliography information

Who the intended audience of the book is

Give a reason for the creation of the book

The subject of the book

The summary of the book’s content

Critical assessment supported with evidence from the book

Researching and Outlining your Book Report


Macbeth, by William Shakespeare

800 to 1000 words

Double spaced

Introductory paragraph requirements

Class and the name of the professor

The book title and the author’s name

The number of pages the book has

The name of the publisher

Bibliographic information

Body: The conflict of the story

Follow Instructions of Your Assignment

Carefully read through your assignment sheet and make notes of the questions that you might have. Make sure that you know the due date, formatting requirements such as double spacing, length of the paper.

For example, you have to find out what your teacher wants you to include.

Most book reports are direct summaries so it is a good idea to ask your teacher how much devotion to summary versus analysis should you include in your paper.

Read the Entire Book

It is the most crucial step. Sit down and read the text before you start writing. Choose a place where you can put all your concentration on the book. It helps you pay attention to important plot points and characters.

Read in stretches and take breaks to keep your attention sharp.

Give yourself enough time to read the whole book. Book report writing, if you have just skimmed over the book, is challenging.

There is no guarantee that online book summaries are accurate so don’t put your trust in them.

Take Notes When Reading

As you are reading, it is good to keep a sticky note, highlighter or pencil in handy. If you are using a computer or phone, you can open up a word document for your notes. When reading and you come across something that you are confused or curious about, mark it. Identify details and evidence that you can use in your report by placing a note with quotations or good examples.

For example, you can find a sentence that clearly describes the primary setting in the book such as, “the castle was gloomy and made out of huge grey stones.”

Create an Outline

You need to create paragraph by paragraph listing of how your paper will get organized. You need to include the details of your work and what each section will discuss. When you start writing, expect your outline to change here and there, so have a plan but be flexible.

When you finish with your outline, go through it to make sure it makes sense. Also, make sure your framework covers all of the significant elements of the book, such as the characters, plot, and setting.

Although editing can take much of your time, it will save you time in the editing stages.

There are those people who prefer to outline with pen and paper, while others prefer to type a list on the computer. Choose the method that works best for you.

Example of an outline:

Macbeth, by William Shakespeare

Main characters:

Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Three witches, Banquo, King Duncan, Malcolm, Macduff


Part 1: Narrative point of view

Unsteady timeline

Part 2: Introducing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

The supernatural is a fundamental part of the structure of the plot

Quotations and Intermix Examples from the Text

As you create your outline, try pairing the general points of the summary with specific details from the book. Your teacher will see that you not only read the book but also understood it. Keep your quotations brief and vary your examples.

Do not overuse quotes. Include one quotation per paragraph.


When Albert thinks he hears a voice while killing Reuben, it prefigures sleeplessness that spares him and his wife.

Don’t Try to Cover Everything

It is impossible to cover every piece of the book thoroughly. However, ensure that your book report gives your readers a feel of the book and include the most important ideas.

For example, you will need to focus primarily on discussing the essential characters or the characters that appear most frequently.

Writing the Body of Your Report

William Shakespeare Macbeth defines thin line between right and wrong and the existence of supernatural.

Open with an Introduction Paragraph

Your first paragraph should include the book name and the author’s name. Open a line that will grab the attention of your readers. You should place one sentence summary of the entire work in the last line of introduction.

For example, a sentence summary might say “This book is about the main characters journey around the world and what he learned on his travels.”

Your introduction should not take too much space. Overall, an introduction should be 3 to 6 sentences long. It is on rare occasions that they may either be short or long.

Describe the Book’s Setting

It is an excellent way to start the body of your assignment as it will set the stage for everything else in your report. Describe the locations mentioned in the book. If your story takes place in a little town, go ahead and mention it. If the setting is futuristic or imaginary, go ahead and say so.

Use persuasive language when you can and go into details. For example, you might write “Hills surrounded the little town.”

Told from multiple perspectives, Macbeth follows the story of the tragedy of Macbeth.

Include an Overall Plot Summary

It is here that you describe what happens in the book. Any significant events should get mentioned in your plot summary and the impacts they have on the characters. This part of your report should appear similar to a comprehensive outline of the book itself.

For example, the plot begins during a bloody civil war in Scotland, where Macbeth gets introduced as a dedicated general in the title of Thane of Glamis serving under King Duncan, who gives a great exaltation of Macbeth’s Prowess and valor in battle. Macbeth and Banquo encounter witches as they cross a moor who prophesy that Macbeth made Thane of Cawdor and eventually King of Scotland. Lady Macbeth convinces him to Kill Duncan, and he agrees. He kills Duncan and plants evidence of regicide on two guards. Macbeth gets then Crowned King. Macbeth becomes a tyrant. Brutally stamping out anyone perceived to be a threat to his power.

Introduce the Main Characters

Mention each character in your report. Don’t forget to comment why they are essential to the book and who they are. In a section of your report, you can describe the primary characters focusing on what they look like to their most significant actions.

It is likely that the character introduction will happen in the same sentence as the plot introduction.

For example, the story explores the fact that Macbeth becomes fixated on the prophecy that he will become king of Scotland ignoring Banquo’s advice.

Examine the Main themes In Your Body Paragraph

If you are reading, try looking for big ideas. Pay attention to characters’ specific patterns and their actions if the book is fictional. If the work is nonfiction, look at what the author is trying to suggest or prove. What is the author’s argument or thesis statement?

For example, you might write “The author debates that travel gives you a new perception. It is why the author’s main character seems happier after visiting new places.”

If the work is fictional, look to see if the author is using the story to pass a lesson. For example, a book about a fictional underdog boxer could be used to encourage readers to take a chance and pursue their dreams.

Mention the Writing Style and Tone

Pay attention to writing basics such as word choice. Check to see if the book is formally or informally written. Ask yourself whether the author is favoring specific arguments and ideas over others. Think about how you feel when you read some parts of the book to get a feel for the tone.

For example, if the book contains a lot of slang terms, then the author is going for a hipper approachable style.

Finish Your Report

Write a Short Conclusion

Your concluding paragraph is where put everything together for your reader. Summarize the whole book in a few quick sentences. You can mention to the readers whether you think they should read the book and why.

Most teachers always recommend that you include the title and the name of the author in the concluding paragraph.

This final paragraph is saved up for your recap, so don’t introduce any new thoughts.

Edit Your Paper

Make sure to reread your paper at least two times. The first time is to make sure that each paragraph is clear, and the structure makes sense. When reading it the second time, concentrate on proofreading to look if there are typos and errors such as quotation marks and missing commas. Reading your paper loudly also helps in checking for awkward phrasing.

You should make sure that the author and any character’s name is correct before submitting your paper.

Don’t rely on your computer to spell check your errors.

Get Someone to Read It

You can find a classmate, family member, or a friend and request them to read your report. After they have completed it, you can invite them to write down comments or corrections on the paper margin. You can also ask them for suggestions they might have.

For example, you can say “I would appreciate it if you could go over my report just to make sure it flows smoothly.”

Polish Your Final Report

Create a clean version of your report after you have made all the corrections. Carefully read it through and take your time looking for any mistakes and errors. Make sure that you’ve followed all of the teacher’s instructions and make a comparison to the guide sheet.

For example, it is essential to double check that you have used the correct font, font size, and margins.


When you’re writing a book report, make sure that you follow the author’s order. You should include the main ideas that develop the author’s argument. Students, especially in college, should know how to write a book report college level as they will learn how to analyze, summarize, compare and contrast, provide a valid and logical argument while paying attention to details. At some point, you might find that you need these skills.