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HomeworkSpot > Book Reports

Book Reports

You may sigh when your teacher assigns a book report project, but writing about the works of others is one of the best ways to expand your literary horizons. With the helpful tips that follow and your own creativity, you can keep the A's coming in.

Most book reports follow a similar format, but your teacher will probably outline what he or she expects from you. Follow those instructions first.

For additional inspiration and ideas, check out the The Lakewood Public Library's helpful student guide to writing book reports. It covers everything from selecting a book to writing your final draft.

The Standard Format

  • Introductory Paragraph
    This paragraph should include the title of the book and name of the author. It will also describe the setting and quickly summarize what the book is about. Don't get too detailed here. It's just the introduction.

  • Body Paragraphs
    This is where the real content enters the picture. By reading this part of your book report (three to four paragraphs), your teacher will be able to determine whether you read the book and understood the story.




    Start by describing the main characters of the story. Then, describe the conflict. Common conflicts include man vs. man, man vs. nature and man vs. himself. Your book may present a different kind of conflict. Describe it in detail.

    The remaining body paragraphs should summarize the plot and describe how it relates to the conflict. Begin with the rising action, the part of the story where events build. Then describe the climax, where the story reaches its most dramatic or interesting point. The third paragraph should describe the falling action, when the conflict or problem is resolved.

  • The Conclusion
    This is an appropriate place to state your personal opinion of the book. What did you think of it? Describe its strengths and weaknesses. Would you recommend it to others? Why or why not? Remember, a winning paper will use examples from the book to back up comments.

Additional Resources

You can read additional guides to writing book reports at Information Please, which offers help for both elementary and middle and high school levels. Older students may want to include a more critical analysis of the work. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center offers tips on reviewing literature. Students will also find Purdue University's Online Writing Lab helpful. You'll find a goldmine of online handouts covering the important apsects of format, grammar and writing.




   --- M. Scarborough

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