- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Book Reports Writing

A Guide To Well-Written Book Reports

Virtually every year you are in school, especially at the lower grade levels, your English teacher will assign you some sort of reading material. Usually you are required to read an entire book, whether one of your choosing or one assigned to you. This is so you can demonstrate your reading comprehension ability. Now, it's not that your English teacher doesn't trust you, but a book report is often required after you've completed the book in order to prove you read the book and understood its content. The tips provided here will enable you to present quality book reports to your teacher each and every year.

Getting Started

Book Reports

Before you begin, you must choose the book you are going to write a report on. If the teacher assigns you one, you won't have to choose one on your own. If you are instructed to choose your own book, make sure you choose one that is appropriate for your grade level and age group. Don't choose one that is intended for students younger than you, because that will not be a good indicator of your reading and comprehension ability. On the other hand, don't choose a book intended for older, more advanced students either, because you may have difficulty grasping the story content. If you have questions as to whether a book is appropriate for your age group, you can consult your parents, teacher, or librarian.

The Components of a Story

There are common elements involved in every story, from the most basic elementary level fables to the most intricate novels. The following is a list of the basic components of a story. By keeping this in mind and examining these aspects within your chosen reading material, you will be able to provide a more thorough and complete book report.

Character Motivation: As you are reading your book, ask yourself, "Why are the main characters in the story acting as they do?" All action is guided by some sort of motivation. The motivation can be something as simple as wanting to find food because of hunger, or can be far more complex. Try to identify and write down what is motivating the characters in your story. Including this information will add quality to your book report.

Conflict: All stories involve some sort of conflict, no matter how big or small it may be. This can range from two best friends wanting to date the same girl to intergalactic battles involving alien races. Identify the main conflict within your story, and look for less obvious conflicts as well, called sub-conflicts.

Resolution: Just as every story must have conflict, every story must show a resolution to that conflict. Without resolution, a story, and all the characters within, will be left hanging. Identify how the conflicts within the book are finally resolved.

Format: You should always consult with your teacher to find out if there is a particular way he or she wants you to format your book report. If your teacher has a specific way of formatting, be sure to follow those directions. If not, the following is a common method to format a book report.

Introduction Paragraph: This will be your first paragraph. Here you can mention the name of your book and its author, and the setting in which the story takes place.

Body Paragraphs: Usually three or four paragraphs, this is where you will describe the main characters of the story, their motivations, and the conflicts they are engaged in. Also, you will describe how these conflicts are finally resolved. Be sure to describe these items in detail, because it is within these paragraphs that your teacher will determine if you read and understood the book.

Concluding Paragraph: It is here, in the final paragraph, you will give a personal evaluation of the story. You can evaluate how well the author went about telling his or her story, and you can describe what you liked or did not like about it.

Check out the section on custom book reports writing mistakes.