Format for Writing a Book Report

Writing a book report is an important part of almost everyone’s educational career: the format for writing a book report allows students to share critical information about the books that they read with their teachers and their peers. Although there is a lot of flexibility in how one can design a book report and write it, many teachers agree that they are eager to read about a few important bits of information and to see that the student, in fact, read and understood the main ideas and themes of the book.

Importance of Book Reports

Book reports are an important exercise in which students offer a review, summary, or commentary about a book that they have read. Completing book reports encourages students to think more critically about the materials, literature, and novels that they read.

You want to do a good job on your book reports in order to succeed in the classroom and get good grades. It is also important to learn how to summarize, review, and share information about books.

Basic Format Guidelines

Sometimes writing a book report can be easier if you think about a format for writing. Students often ask, which information should go where? What information is important, and what is not? How should I build my report so that it is easy to read – and I get a great grade?

Here are a few basic formatting guidelines:

  • Open your book report by mentioning your teacher’s name, the name of the book, and the author of the book.
  • Add other important information about the book in the introductory paragraph, including when the book was published.
  • Discuss the theme of the book, and include a one-or-two sentence summary of the book.
  • Include subsequent paragraphs that describe the characters of the book, the purpose of the book, and give a summary of the plot. You could:
  • Trace a character’s experience throughout the book
  • Analyze a certain motive or theme of the book
  • Juxtapose one character’s experience with another’s experience

The key is to make sure you very clearly describe these elements in an organized fashion: separate the information, use lots of detail and descriptive language to describe your main points, and be sure to use lots of topic sentences and closing sentences for each paragraph so the reader will understand your main points.

More Information You Could Include

You might want to include:

  • Information about how you chose the book – Have you read books by this person before? Is it a genre that you like? Was it a gift, a recommendation from a friend, or an assignment for all students in class? Sometimes librarians recommend certain books based on the kinds of books you like.
  • Citations for specific pages in the book. It is really up to your teacher’s needs: ask him or her whether they are expecting you to use a certain format for citations.
  • A personal reflection on the book. Can you draw any comparisons between a character in the book and yourself or someone in your own life? Does the plot remind you of something that has happened to you, or a story you recently heard about in the news? Were any of the themes of the book especially touching or motivating?

Although these are not always expected – or even wanted – by some teachers and professors, it is an important skill to learn how to connect with books and make reading a very personalized experience for yourself.

Specific Writing Instructions

You should make sure to ask your teacher or professor what his or her specific instructions are regarding writing book reports. Some teachers and professors want their students to follow a very specific format when writing a book report, down to which content belongs in which specific paragraph.

Since there is no one way to write a book report, if you are not constrained by regulations set by your teacher or professor, allow yourself to be creative while sharing the important information about the book in your writing. Make sure that you know any important directions from your teacher for the format for writing a book report before you begin the task.

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