WHAT IS A BOOK REPORT?
A book report is a kind of essay that sums up, explains or reviews a given book. It can be either factual, asking the student to state and enumerate the facts or analytical, where the student is required to analyze plot, characters, themes, ideas etc.
How to Get Ready to Write a Book Report
Writing a book report is unthinkable about actually reading the book. The sad part about it is that proper preparation requires you to read the book at least once or more (sorry if you don’t like to read!). So, the first part is just reading for enjoyment. You should get a general feeling, understanding of what the author is trying to say in the text and grasp its main message. You should get acquainted with the setting, plot, and characters of the book, pick major themes, understand the general setting.
If you are an advanced reader and are able to work on the go, you can grab a pencil and a sheet of paper and write down your thoughts and ideas regarding what you have read. These notes will later become an important part of your book report. In case you are not so experienced with reading and analysis on the go, the best way to work with the book is to read it once, then put it aside for a day or two and then come back to it. That way the information you process will settle down and you will be able to generate ideas. As soon as you feel you are ready, get that book in your hands for a second pass. Ideally, you will need to scan through the book bearing the topic of your book report in mind. Concentrate on what your teacher wants you to do, take notes.
Formatting & Structure
Formatting your book report is probably the easiest part of the paper. It is best to work on it once you are totally done with the entire text. Formatting a book report is generally done according to APA standards; however, MLA formatting is not uncommon.
As to the structure, the book report format is a kind of essay and will, therefore, take the basic essay structure and format. Reiterating what has been said, the structure of your book report should include the following parts: an introduction (with the thesis), several body paragraphs and a conclusion.
Language and Tone
A book report is completely factual. It has to revolve around facts from the book, and should also include the following information on:
- Place and year of publication
- A brief summary of the content of the book
For this reason, language and tone should be objective, impartial and impersonal. Please note, however, that should your teacher require a personal book report format, you will be required to write using the first person, so once again – please check with your instructor prior to starting the actual work.
Book Report: Tips on Writing & Post-Writing
TIP 1. It’s a good idea to start writing by preparing an outline. If you have done some preparatory reading, the notes you have taken are ideal for this. Once you are done jotting down the points you want to mention, proceed by putting some flesh on the bones, provide details and develop the main ideas.
TIP 2. In order to write an effective book report, you will need to elaborate your outline into a draft. The draft doesn’t necessarily have to be tidy and neat – its main purpose is to embrace all the ideas that come up to your head in the process.
TIP 3. Once your first draft is finished, read through it and make sure it is relevant and logical. Throw out thoughts that interrupt the logic and flow of the paper. It’s a good idea to review your paper again within several hours after you complete your draft (don’t do it immediately unless absolutely necessary).
TIP 4. After your draft has been polished into the final version of your paper, check your grammar and spelling. Try to use a word processor if possible. Typed book reports look better than handwritten ones. They are easier for your teacher to read and they are easier for you to correct.
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