Academic Writing Complete Guide

Book reports

A book report discusses the contents of a book. It is sometimes written as part of a class assignment. Teachers often give students a list of books they can choose and they prepare a good book report. On the other hand, students can select the book that they want to use for their report. When teachers issues books for to the students, they use methods such as particular works of a given author, reading multiple works to students aloud and having them select one of the books for the report, or they use the class selection process to settle on a book.
If you are writing a book report based a work of fiction, you must include the

  • Bibliographical information about the work,
  • Summarize the narrative and the setting
  • The major story elements of key characters,
  • The purpose of the author in creating the work,
  • Student’s opinion on the book and a thesis statement that sums up the major idea inferred from reading the book.

This process may not seem as fascinating in the first place, but it is a good chance to understand the work and its author. A book report offers to the audience a straightforward summary of the text. The first and most crucial step is getting the book and start reading. Take crucial notes and annotations as you read because they are essential in building a solid outline. This makes the writing process easier.

Researching and outlining your book report

  • You must meet the requirements of your assignment
    Read the instructions carefully and take note of any questions you might have. You can engage your teacher during a class talk or afterward with the aim of addressing any concerns. You must know the length of your paper, the formatting style, and the due date. For instance, you have to find out if your instructor wants you to include citations or how much space you need to dedicate summary and analysis.
  • Read the entire book
    This is the most important step that happens before you even start writing. Find a quiet place, read the entire book, and keep your paper in mind as you read. Pay attention to any specific characters or plot points. Ensure you have broken as you read to maintain a sharp attention to details. Find a comfortable place and if you can read for thirty minutes without distractions, then maintain that interval.

    Give yourself enough time to read ten are books and do not trust online summaries. It is hard to tell if they are accurate or true to the text.
  • Take careful notes as you read
    You can have a pencil, highlighter, or sticky notes as you read. If you have a phone or computer, open a working document and make your notes there. Once you find something that you are curious about, mark it. Identify evidence and details that are relevant to your report by bracketing or place a note by quotation or good examples.
  • Formulate an outline
    This simply shows how your paper will be organized. Include what every paragraph will discuss and the details of the work that you plan to incorporate into your report. This outline is subject to change when you start writing since the process lead to its own realizations. As such, your plan must be flexible.

    Once you are done with the outline, ensure that it is sensible by going through it. If the paragraphs are not flowing, try to rearrange them until they make the best flow. Ascertain if your outline covers every major point. Outlining your report will take a little bit of time, buts it is worth. There are those who prefer writing their outline on a paper while others use a computer. Use whatever works for you.
  • Intermix your examples and quotations from the text
    As you formulate your outline, you can pair any general points of the summary with [particular details from the book. This demonstrates not only demonstrates that you have not only read the book but have understood it. The examples should vary and your explanations should be brief. Do not overuse quotes. Every paragraph should utilize a single quote. However, examples and quotes should take the back seat in your summary.
  • Refrain from covering everything
    You cannot discuss everything in a book thoroughly. Instead, you only include the most important ideas and give your audience a feel of the book.

Writing the body of your report

  • Make your introduction informative
    Your introduction should contain the name of the author and the title of the book. Your lead sentence should grab the attention of the reader. You can use a quote from the book to achieve this fete. Your thesis statement is supposed to come in the last sentence of your introduction. Your introduction is not supposed to take up too much space and instead, it is supposed to be 3-6 sentences long.
  • Describe the setting
    This sets the stage for everything especially in the body of the paper. It is crucial to mention the settings in the book so that your audience will know exactly what you are referring to. If the story happens on a farm, say so. If the setting is somewhat futuristic or imaginary, mention that too. Use vivid language where necessary as well as adequate details.
  • Include a general plot summary
    This describes what transpires in a book. You should mention any major events take place in the book and how they affect the characters. It should appear like a detailed outline of the book.
  • Introduce to the audience, the main characters
    While you are mentioning the characters in your report, introduce whom they are and show their importance to a book. You can also designate a whole section of your paper where you describe all the primary characters, what they look like and their significant actions. The introduction of characters can happen in the same sentence paragraphs as the plot introduction.
  • Examine any major theme or arguments in your body paragraphs
    You can look for the big ideas as you read the book. If it is a work of fiction, pay attention to character actions and how they follow certain patterns. In a nonfiction work identify the authors' thesis statement. For fiction work, the story can help you to identify if the author wants to pass along a specific moral lesson.
  • Give your comments on the style of writing and tone
    You can pay attention to some sections of the work and focus on writing elements like the choice of words. Ascertain whether the book was written in a formal or informal way. Identify if the author seems to gravitate towards certain ideas and arguments over others. You can decide on the tone once you think about how you feel when you spread some parts of the book.

Finish your report

  • Write a concise conclusion
    This is where you sum up everything for the reader. It should have a few quick sentences that summarize the entire book. You can make a final statement on whether you would suggest the book to the other readers and state the reasons. There are times when you are required to include the name of the author and the title of the work in your conclusions. As a rule of thumb, you are not supposed to bring any new information, thoughts, or facts that you have not discussed in your text, to the conclusion.
  • Edit your paper
    Ensure you have read your paper at least two times. The first time is meant to ascertain that the structure is sensible and that each paragraph is clear. The second reading involves proofreading as you look for small errors and typos, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You can also read your paper aloud to check any awkward phrasing.
    Before you submit your paper, ensure that the name of the author is correctly spelled as well as the names of the characters. It is not always prudent to trust your computer to do an excellent job in spellchecking for you.
  • Let another person read it
    You can ask a family member or a close friend to read your work. Tell them to note down any comments or the corrections necessary for your piece. You can also converse with them after they have read your work.
  • Polish your final copy of the book report
    After you have made all the necessary corrections, you can print a clean version of your report. Read it carefully and very slowly searching for any typos or minor errors. You can compare the report to a guide sheet to ensure that you have met all the assignment requirements. For instance, you can double check to see if you have used the correct font size.

Writing book reports should not be something to startle the student. The above steps provide a simple but detailed process of coming up with a good book report. The important thing is to pay attention to the instructions provided by the lecturer and stick to them completely.


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