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How to write a Book Report: Template and samples

How to write a Book Report: Template and samples

Writing a book report is one of the most important assignment tasks that you will be assigned as a student. It can also be one of the more challenging ones, but it doesn’t have to be tough if you know how to do it right. The following are some useful tips for writing your next book report assignment in no time.

Book Report Meaning

What is a book report? A book report summarizes the content of a book, gives an opinion about the value or quality of it and discusses whether or not you would recommend it to others. A good way to make your paper more interesting is by adding quotes from the text that support your opinions on certain aspects of the story.

Writing a book report involves reading the assigned text carefully and writing an objective summary of the important points of the text. It is very difficult for students to write summaries about books they are unfamiliar with, which is why one should always take time to read before writing. If one has trouble summarizing what they read, look for key words that summarize each section of the book or chapter in their notes and use them in your summary sentence. Remember to include strong verbs when summarizing events!

Why Do Book Reports Strike Fear in the Hearts of Most Students?

Many students will have to write a book report. A good number of them dread writing this assignment, and it is not difficult to understand why: book reports can be long and tedious and focus on obscure details that require a great deal of knowledge about the books themselves.

Book reports may also include the writing of reviews, which means summarizing parts or all of a book’s contents in order to provide an opinion about it. This leaves little room for creativity; in fact, teachers often like to assign these tasks because they know that such rote exercises promote learning through practice.

There are alternative ways to approach this type of assignment though. Instead of copying information from the book, you can “pretend” that you are a reviewer who has only read the back cover or the inside flap of the novel. In such a case, it would be wise to offer your opinions on why other people might like (or dislike) this type of book and what they could expect from reading it.

Seven (7) Steps of Writing A Book Report Summary Essay

  1. Read!

Before you can sit down and write your book report, you’ll want to read the book. If it’s a work of fiction, be sure to pay attention when reading so that when you have to answer questions about what happens in the book, you know what they’re referring to. If it’s a non-fiction book, the author usually sums up their main points at the beginning or end of the book – read these too before writing anything else.

  1. Get Started

Now that you have read through your entire book several times, it is time for you to begin putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). It is common for many students with a report due soon to panic and just start writing, even before they’ve given their book report much thought. While it might be fine to write down your first impressions of the book, you’ll want to go back later after you’ve actually read the book.

  1. Pose a Question

Once you have finished your other readings for school (in addition to reading the book), you should return to ask yourself plenty of questions about what happened in the story or how it was written. Some good questions to ask yourself are: – Who is the protagonist? What does s/he want? Why can’t s/he get it? – Is there an antagonist in this story? If so, who is it and why do they oppose the protagonist’s goal? – What happens in the story? – How does it end? Is there a resolution or will there be another book to continue the series?

  1. The 4-P Approach

When writing your report, make sure you use what is called the “4 P Approach” (introduction, plot/summary of events, point of view and personality of characters, and conclusion). This approach has been known to help students get better grades on their reports.

  1. Write an Outline

Okay – you’ve read through your book several times; you’ve got all kinds of questions bubbling up inside you about what happens next. Now it’s time to put them all down on paper so that you can organize your thoughts before actually beginning to write. An outline is like a sketch of the book – it will give you an idea of how your report should be organized.

  1. Writing!

Now that you’ve done all this brainstorming (and outlined), it’s finally time to put pen (or pencil, if that’s what you’re using) to paper and write your book report. Start with an introduction paragraph that states who wrote the book, what the book is about, and whether or not you liked it.

How do start to write a book report? A good way to get started is to write about the author and then summarize what happens in the story. For example, if I were writing about “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger, I might start my report with this sentence: The protagonist of J.D Salinger’s novel “The Catcher in the Rye” is Holden Caulfield who tells his life experiences from a mental institution where he has been for almost five years after running away from home on December 16th, 1949 at age seventeen because he was tired of being told what to do by everyone including his parents and teachers at school.”

If there are several main characters, briefly introduce each one so that readers know who they are looking for throughout the rest of your report. Sum up the events in order as they occur in the story with some type of transition sentence between each one so that everything flows together nicely. If you’re writing about a non-fiction book, write about the author just as you would with any other book. End your report with a conclusion paragraph that summarizes everything in one last sentence.

  1. Revise and Edit

The final step in writing your book report is to look through it all for any errors or problems, such as grammar mistakes or awkward word choices. at our essay writing service, we recommend reading over it once more checking for punctuation mistakes (exclamation marks in odd places), capitalization errors, misspelled words, incomplete sentences…The list goes on and on!

Remember – When writing your own report, use this same outline to help you organize your thoughts before you begin to write; then go back and edit once it’s complete!

Book Report Ideas and Topics

  1. What is the author’s overall point?

This type of question is usually asked in an analytical book review. It refers to the main message that the writer tried to get across through his work. What does the literature say about the world and what it means? This is also referred to as an expository essay because of its tone and language. The writer takes on a study of the text itself and what he thinks it says about something else or even society at large.

As such, this question opens up many possibilities and angles from which you can write about your book. You don’t necessarily have to agree with what was written – all you need to do is summarize what you think the author was trying to say and then provide your own take on it. What insights do you have that were not included in the book, but should have been? This question gives you a creative license to write about anything as long as it’s relevant.

  1. What was the story or plot of the book?

This type of college book report topic usually reflects only one aspect of a text – its content. In this case, you will write about what happened in the novel from beginning to end. You’ll have plenty of details to discuss because you don’t want any part of the story left out. However, if there are points that might be trivial or not worth considering, just mention them and then quickly move on. No one would care about the little things when it comes to a book report that is only 500 words long or less. You want readers to finish your paper in a short span of time but still be able to grasp the message you are trying to convey. At this point, it’s no longer an academic writing task because you’re basically summarizing what you’ve read – assuming that every reader has done his or her own reading and research prior to reaching out for your college book report assignment help.

  1. Give some background information about the author.

This is where you delve into why an author wrote his or her story in this manner. You’ll need to know more about the writer of the book so that you have a better insight on his or her intentions. You may also peruse the book’s reviews and look for interviews with the writer in order to help you accomplish this college book report topic. If your professor wants everything from you – from the stated question, no less – it means that he or she is up to something sneaky. For instance, you might be asked to write about certain things but there are some elements that will make up most of your grade. It’s almost like a trick question because even though it seems innocent at first glance, there is still a deeper motive behind it all. This proves that your instructor is expecting more out of you – you cannot simply answer book report questions with nothing but a summary of what was written in an entire book.

  1. What is the book’s setting?

This question refers to when and where the action in the novel happened. Again, you will need a lot of details because this is not a regular summary of events. If your instructor wants something more from you, make sure that you include descriptive elements to help readers visualize what was going on at certain points in time or space. The story might be set in a different world or timeframe, but it all boils down to how you portray every scene – do they come alive for your audience? Or are they just lifeless words on paper? That’s why college book report topics tend to be trickier than regular book reviews since there are hidden motives behind these questions, no matter how seemingly straightforward they may seem.

  1. What are the main characters in this book?

This involves providing a brief introduction to each of the protagonists and antagonists listed in the story. Of course, you will need more than just a physical description for your task because there is so much more to these personalities than we can see on paper. There’s also their reaction to certain events and their responses towards other characters – you cannot simply describe them as if they were robots or machines programmed with specific functions and reactions. Life and its problems can be complicated even when it comes down to how simple paper personas would respond under certain circumstances. That’s why college book reports usually include one short bio for each character along with an analysis of his or her actions throughout the entire novel that was studied.

  1. What is the conflict in this book?

Conflict refers to a clash of elements that makes up a story – not just any kind of element but those with opposing goals and purposes. The protagonist would have their own personal struggles going on for them, while villains try to stop them from reaching a specific goal or achieving a certain purpose. When there’s a fight occurring or an obstacle in place, it means that this is what you should discuss on your college book report. This also shows how you’ve paid close attention to the events so far – oftentimes, students who aren’t too interested in the novel will simply summarize every single thing they’ve read without pointing out anything crucial or important.

  1. Discuss the first main event in this book.

This college book report topic has you talking about the very first incident that happened in the story. This is when it all started – where you are given a glimpse of what will eventually unfold throughout the rest of the book. Of course, you cannot just tell what you think actually happened in this scene – remember, there might be some hidden details or small bits of important information that can aid your discussion on specific topics in your paper. Try to discover these things by reading every single line in your novel so that when it gets to this question, you can already have an idea on how to answer it properly instead of wasting time brainstorming ideas.

  1. What is another important event in this book?

Another question for college book reports involves pointing out other significant happenings in the story. Of course, there are also plot twists and conflicts that will affect the overall development of the plot so be sure to choose only those moments that matter on paper.

  1. What is conflict in this book?

Conflict refers to a clash of elements that makes up a story – not just any kind of element but those with opposing goals and purposes. The main character will be tested as he or she struggles to overcome the conflict and eventually succeeds.

When you write a college book report, this is one question that requires your input. You have to define what kind of conflict there is in the story so don’t just give a vague answer – all readers deserve specific details based on examples from the novel itself.

  1. What was the climax of this book?

Another big part of college book report questions includes offering information about that moment when everything seems to come together for both main characters and supporting roles alike. This is where their goal has been reached after overcoming many obstacles along the way – focusing on this element will make it easier to find closure for everyone involved with ease.

  1. Can you name an example from the book to support your answer?

This is where you can let your creativity shine because it’s one of the few chances to go beyond the required information and include something that will make your essay stand out. Of course, don’t choose anything too surprising or that would give away the ending because then everyone will be left with more questions than answers! It’s still a college book report so everything has to be done according to specific requirements anyway.

  1. What is your opinion on this book?

Lastly, you can give extra information on how you really felt about it all – why did you like some parts while others didn’t sit too well with you? This requires a bit of personal insight but it’s still part of college book reports because your professor might want to know what your take is on everything that happens in the story. Be open-minded when answering this question because let’s face it – opinions are subjective anyway so there’s no use arguing over each other if they do not align at all.

College Book Report Template, format, structure and Outline


The introduction should provide an accurate and concise summary of the book’s thesis (i.e. its main argument). Do not begin by describing the plot, characters, etc., or providing background or historical information about the author – save that for later in your paper when it becomes relevant to your discussion. The thesis should be stated in one short sentence standing alone without punctuation at the end of your introductory paragraph, so it will stand out clearly for readers to see immediately.

Body paragraphs:

Each body paragraph should focus on a single idea or goal addressed by the book you are discussing, beginning with a topic sentence that establishes what area will be covered in that particular paragraph. You may have more than one body paragraph discussing the same area if it is particularly complex or if different supporting ideas are discussed in separate paragraphs.


The conclusion should restate briefly the main argument(s) of the book, concluding with a general assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. If you have used quotations from the book within your report, provide full citations for these quotes either at the end of your report or as footnotes to each quotation (it is not necessary to include them all in your text).

*Notes on structure: Using an “outsider looking into” approach might be useful for newer writers for whom this kind of structuring may feel more comfortable because there’s less pressure about having to “make stuff up” which can come with other approaches. Give it a try and see how you like it!

Book report examples written by students

Looking for some book report examples to copy from, here are some good sample guides to get you started:

Sample 1:

Sample Book Report on Harry Porter (pdf)

Sample 2:

Sample book report on Wonder (pdf)

Sample 3:

Sample Book Report on To kill a Mockingbird (pdf)

Sample 4:

Sample Book Report on diary of a Wimpy Kid (pdf)

Sample 5:

Sample Book Report on Charlotte’s web (pdf)

Sample 6:

Sample Book Report on Charlie and the chocolate Factory

Sample 7:

Sample Book Report on the Outsiders (pdf)

Sample 8:

Sample Book Report on Peter’s Rabbit (pdf)

Sample 9:

Sample Book Report on The Alchemist

Sample 10:

Sample Book Report on Oliver twist (pdf)

Do you Need Help Writing a book Report?

You can easily order a book report online and never get caught. However, it is still worth mentioning that you should only use the Internet to find sources for extra information – avoid plagiarizing by writing down all of your thoughts or ideas on paper instead.

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