how to write a book report

Before you even graduate highschool, you are bound to go through a lot of book reports. If you are a bookworm, then this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you’re not really into reading, then writing a book report (especially on something that you didn’t read) can be a pain. But no worries, writing a book report can be easy. Just follow the steps below, and depending on your teacher’s required book report format, you can write your report in a snap.

Summarize Key Points
This is where reading the book actually comes in handy. When asked for a summary, don’t just give out a re-written version of the book’s synopsis that you’ll find in the back cover. You have to tell the story in your own words, and while doing so, you have to highlight the key points of the story. Mention the main conflict and how the protagonist of the story got to overcome it. Also write the critical points of the story, the ones that contribute to how the conflict came to be and the ones that led up to the climax. Write about the twists and unexpected turns the story had. You can go ahead and leave the dull parts of the book behind; you can capture the very essence if the book with its main points and/or scenes.

Don’t Just “Describe” the Characters
A common mistake one makes when answering the charaters section of the report is that one just simply describes or states who the character is. Like for example, “John is the sole son of Mr. and Mrs. Jones. He is the protagonist of the story.” This is a weak answer to this portion of the report and won’t get you much of a good grade.

The much better way to do it is to tell what kind of person the character is; you can include the basic facts about the character along the way. Is the protagonist a genuinely good person? How? Go cite a scene from the book where the character shows this particular trait. Is the character a bitter, revengeful man? Why? Write about his backstory and motives. Describe what the character feels and how their mind works. What makes them kind? What makes them pitiful? Put all of these in your report; don’t be satisfied with a simple descriptive sentence.

Learn to Differentiante the Plot from its Subplots
Another error one usually makes is mistaking a subplot to the actual plot of the book. The main plot is usually about a single topic or conflict that draws out till the end of the book. So when filling out this portion of the report, look at the bigger picture first. What where the characters’ main struggle? Don’t mistake a mini-adventure to be the whole journey.

Cite Main Themes on Morals / Values Learned
If you’re asked to write down the values or morals found in the book, go and cite its main themes–this is where you disect the answer. Is the book mainly discussing the themes of vengance, poverty or forbidden love? From these themes, you can descibe the message of the main values the book is teaching. To further strengthen your answer, cite a couple of instances wherein these themes or values were experience first-hand by the characters.

What You Felt, What You Learned
Not all teachers ask for a reaction in a book report. But if they do, it’s best to (1) provide a bit of a critique, on how the pacing was and how the writer presented the story, (2) write about what you felt, which parts made you smpathetic, which ones made you cry and want to scream while reading the book–what emotions were the book able to draw out from you, and (3) state what you learned, what lessons the book gave you and how your perspective on things has changed–if applicable.

If you are still having trouble writing the book report since you didn’t take the time to read, you can always go to Sparknotes and/or other written critiques of the book for help. Although, reading the required text is most certainly advised. Reading will open your eyes to different worlds and perspectives and will definitely expand your knowledge and improve your opinion on things.

Publisher: pauline c. tome

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