How to Write a Book Report

Updated: Nov 28, 2016

Writing a book report is a relatively easy assignment. This type of writing is believed to be common for K-12 students and is more of a technical assignment requiring narration and summing up of book contents.

Writing a book report is a relatively easy assignment. This type of writing is believed to be common for K-12 students and is more of a technical assignment requiring narration and summing up of book contents. Book reports don’t usually require in-depth analysis and serve primarily to hone students’ writing skills and help them learn to structure information properly.

The next step is to provide in-depth analysis of the characters, plot, themes, motives etc. Generally, if you come up with a book report while you were asked for a book review, you’re in trouble and your grade is very likely to go down. The opposite situation is less harmful, however still undesirable. Therefore you need to pay close attention to what you are required to write and stick to the assignment criteria if you want to succeed.

To demonstrate how to write a book report, let’s take some simple piece of writing and prepare a book report based on our easy 10 step book report template. For greater convenience, let’s try to write a book report based on the short story “The Gift of the Magi” by O’Henry. 

Book Report Outline: Sample Book Report
  • What is the title of the book?
  • Who is the author of the book?
  • When was the book written?
  • Who was it published by?
  • What kind of literature is it?
The “Gift of the Magi” is a short story by O’Henry that was first published on December 10, 1906, in the New York Sunday World Magazine. The short story was written when O’Henry’s popularity was at its peak, and despite its literary shortcomings, has enjoyed long literary life for more than a century.
  • Characters
The two main characters in this story are Jim and Della, a young married couple, who is going through times of financial difficulty.
  • Brief Plot Summary
The story unfolds on the day before Christmas and we find both spouses wanting to make Christmas gifts to each other, but being unable to afford them. Della has gorgeous hair and decides to cut and sell it in order to buy Jim a chain that he could use for his pocket watch. Jim too, looking for a way to buy a Christmas gift for his beloved wife, decides to sell his watch and buy Della a set of hair combs. Jim and Della learn that both had to sacrifice their most precious belongings. O’Henry compares them to the Magi, who put each other’s interests higher than their own, making sacrifices in the name of their loved ones.
  • Themes
The main themes of this short story are love, sacrifice, money.

This is a short book report sample that shows how to write a book report. It might differ depending on your school and your professor. If you have a model book report and you need help with it, we will happily help you to work through it. PrivateWriting.com is available 24/7 for all customer inquiries.

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