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How to Write Outstanding College Level Book Reports


There's nothing quite like enjoying a really solid piece of literature. Hours can pass while you're diving into a new world that the author has created. Your enjoyment of your novel may dissipate slightly when you are trying to figure out how to write a college level book report about it—but it doesn't have to be that way. Analyzing (and maybe even critiquing) novels is a useful skill that will help you both in and outside of the classroom. In this post we will outline the best strategies of painlessly writing a book report. It's important to note that there is no one generic book report assignment. This isn't necessarily a step-by-step guide, but it can help get you started thinking about the specific requirements that your instructor has for you.

Know the assignment

When you start out your book report assignment, it's important that you know exactly what your instructor is requiring. Does your instructor want you to explore the book's theme and write a five-paragraph essay on it, or are you supposed to be writing an essay about a particular character? Read through the assignment sheet very carefully and make sure that you understand all of the instructions. If you have questions or are uncertain about something, be sure to ask your instructor.

Actually read the book

Even though it may be tempting to take a shortcut and watch a movie adaptation of your book or even to read the Sparknotes , definitely resist that urge. Not only will your report be more thorough if you read the book the whole way through, but reading and understanding themes and outlining a novel plot is an invaluable experience. You'll be able to understand books on a completely new and more appreciative level. When you are reading the novel for your book report, write down page numbers or passages that pertain to the assignment or that you think might be interesting to mention.

Try to really sink into what the author is trying to say by asking yourself the following questions:

Write a good introduction

After you've read your book thoroughly and you've thought about the characters, themes, plot, and some good quotes, you'll be ready to start writing the book report. Like any other paper, a good book report needs an explanatory introduction that is easy to understand. When writing the introduction, be sure to include the title of the work, the author, and a sentence or two on what you will be overviewing in the report. Even though it may not be required to have a thesis statement in your book report, writing one in your paper might keep it more focused and help you narrow down what you will be writing in the body paragraphs.

Perfecting Your Thesis Statement

For example, if we were writing an introduction about a book report over Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird , we might write something like this:

In Harper Lee's iconic coming of age novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee confronts the audience with the idea that systemic racism was rampant in the U.S. court system in the early 20th century in the South. She illustrates this idea with the unfair trial of convicted rapist Tom Robinson, whose lawyer Atticus Finch handily proves is innocent, yet is still sentenced with a crime he did not commit. Through the eyes of the young main character, Scout Finch, the audience is able to learn about these injustices with the innocent eyes of a child.

As you can see, we mentioned the name of the book, the author, and we also outlined what we would be discussing throughout the body paragraphs in the book report. Not only will this let the reader know what this report is about, but it'll also help you stay organized when you are writing the paper. Note that nowhere in this paragraph does it say that we really liked the book. Whether or not we liked the book is irrelevant in the report. What the book report is trying to do is to objectively understand a book's relevance and importance wit themes, characters, motifs, etc. (Though of course it's perfectly okay and encouraged to like the book that you are reviewing.)

Implement the ideas in the body paragraphs

The meat of your book report will be in the body paragraphs. These paragraphs will expand on the ideas that you brought up in your introduction paragraph and allow you to introduce the novel in depth to your reader.

Though no two book report assignments are the same, it's likely that your instructor is going to want to see some summarization in your book report. Your summary of the novel shouldn't be too lengthy (this is a report after all, so it's typically quite short). If your instructor has assigned a five-page book report, don't summarize the book in four and a half pages. As a general rule, commit about 1/3 of the paper to a summary just so you can make sure the reader understands your analysis of it without having read it.

Once you are done writing the summary of the novel, then you can get into your actual analysis of it. You may remember that we brought up systemic racism in the U.S. court system in the South in our essay on To Kill a Mockingbird. In our summary, we would then explore those ideas that we brought forth to the reader. How does Lee illustrate this idea throughout the novel? A good way to show how the author is making this point is through direct quotations from the book that you believe are a good showcase.

In your analysis, you should also be discussing theme (or what was the author's purpose behind writing this book) and character. No two analyses are the same, which is what makes book reports and literary criticism so interesting. Everyone will read the novel through their own personal lenses and experiences and come up with a completely different interpretation of what the author intended for us to come away with.

Again, it's crucial to keep looking at your instructions for your book report so that you know exactly what you need to be discussing. Even if you write a brilliant report over the theme of systemic racism in the court system in To Kill a Mockingbird, it won't do you any good when you were actually supposed to write about the relationship between Scout and Atticus Finch and why it mattered. Paying attention to instructions is one of the biggest keys to success in writing a book report.

As with all other conclusions, focus on wrapping things up neatly. Though you may be tempted to just say in the conclusion that you either loved or hated the book, this doesn't make for a very interesting paragraph. When you are writing your conclusion on your book report, think about why this novel matters. If you didn't like it, think about why you didn't like it. Think about how well the author gets his or her point across. Should this book be read widely to gain a critical understanding of a subject? Why or why not? Would you recommend this book to others? The genre of book reports generally seeks out the opinion of the writer, so make sure that you let your voice be heard.

How To Write a Concluding Paragraph

Like any other paper that you write, it's crucial to go back through and revise if you are turning in the final copy. It's extremely rare that you'll write something that doesn't have any mistakes or reworking to do. Once you have written the first draft, take a short break to get your eyes off the paper for just a bit. Come back to the paper after the break with a set of fresh eyes and try to read through it for grammar and spelling mistakes (spell check doesn't get everything!) and then once again for content. Make sure that everything makes sense and is very explanatory. After all—you have to assume that your audience hasn't read your book yet so you want to make sure that you are explaining it well enough to someone who has never read a sentence of it and still be able to understand.

If you are uncertain about sentences or even entire passages of your book report, ask a friend or your instructor to take a look at your work. Sometimes it helps to get an outside opinion since you've been closely working with the text.

Book reports teach us more than just how to write a report

Though we do a lot of research and studying about subjects that may not be applicable after college, book reports may be one of the only exceptions to that. Novels, no matter how abstract the concept, teach us about human behavior and life through plots and characters. Understanding how to break down an author's intent on their stories will absolutely be relevant to your life. Having the curiosity and the skills to understand a novel with a more complex understanding will undoubtedly enrich your reading experience.

Remember than an effective book report will have an introduction that mentions the book title, author, and include the points you will be making throughout the body paragraphs. Your body paragraphs will expand on those ideas that you brought up in the introduction, using quotes from the book, analysis, and summary to aide you.

Finally, be sure that once the book report has been written that you are carefully looking at spelling, grammar, and the content of your paragraphs. Get a friend, your instructor, or even a professional editor to look at your book report to make sure you are on the right track.

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FREE 14+ Sample Book Reports in PDF | MS Word

Every book reviewer needs a sample book report to go through the guidelines on how to write a report on any genre of book in a proper format. The following Sample Book Reports contain thorough guidelines on how to write the introduction, plot analysis, character analysis, the conclusion, and verdict. Such reports are most useful for college students for book review projects or those willing to write a sample biography and for amateurs who are starting book review as their profession. The following reports contain samples, questionnaires and separate guidelines for a different genre of books such as biography, novels, history books, science books and much more.

Book Report

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Annual Report Book Cover Template

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Sample Book Report Format

book report format

Size: 52 KB

This is a complete book report format for middle school students. It explains clearly the sections to be included in the sample report and how to write them to match the expectations. Starting from the introduction, settings, plot, to characters and conclusion, everything flows systematically. It provides an example how the introduction should be as it determines how the thesis is, how the conclusion should be to leave an unending impression on the mind of the readers.

College Book Report Template

college book report

Size: 48 KB

This is a complete guideline manual for writing a book report or review for college students. It shows how to write the report keeping in mind the type off audiences who are the readers. It has a set of sample questionnaires that a student must answer and have in mind to write a better report. There are separate questionnaires that are useful in writing a novel and biography report, history book report, science book report and much more.

Biography Book Report Template

biography book report

Size: 230 KB

This is a step-by-step guideline to write a report or review system on a biography book. It states the steps a reviewer must take before he can start reading it. What are the things to keep in mind, things to collect while reading, the questions that a reviewer must answer before writing a review to have a complete grip on the subject. It states clearly how to present the report in a written format and in an oral presentation. It lists the questions that need to be answered about the person on whom the biography is based on.

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Written Book Report Form Template

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Usage of Sample Book Reports

A book report is a manual and a set of guidelines for the college students who wants to write a biography on someone. They provide the questionnaire on which the students need to collect information to write a biography. They state the points a biography must have to be an engaging book. On the other hand, the above book reports are guidelines for any book reviewer as they provide a Sample Report Card format and ideas on how to write the introduction, conclusion and the body contain character and plot analysis so that they look professional, unbiased and interesting to read throughout. Such sample reports make sure that the book reviewers never miss out on any point irrespective of what genre of book it might be.

Targeted Audience

The targeted audiences for such sample book reports are the college students and the book reviewers. The college students who are willing to write a thesis statement on any subject or a biography on a popular person needs to go through such sample reports to understand the proper format and the points they need to cover to make the report interesting and engaging. For any amateur book reviewer or reporter, they are very useful as they contain sets of questions based on a different genre of book to write a thorough report containing all the necessary points and details that some professional book reviewers may miss out.

Benefits of Sample Book Reports

Sample book reports contain book review formats for fiction and non-fiction category of books. They provide different ideas for making book reviewing interesting. They contain all the guidelines, steps and questionnaire based on which a book reporter can approach a book to collect information and prepare an analysis on it while reading, keeping in mind those guidelines and questionnaires. They also help in preparing an Annual Report and report card for any organization.

The above-listed sample book reports contain the proper format that every book reviewer or writer of biographies must follow to write a stunning and engaging report. They contain thorough guidelines on the must-haves for introduction, character and plot analysis report and conclusion. They also contain questionnaire that every book reporter must ask himself or collect information before writing a report.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts

how to write a book report college level pdf

Writing a Book Report

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This resource discusses book reports and how to write them.

Book reports are informative reports that discuss a book from an objective stance. They are similar to book reviews but focus more on a summary of the work than an evaluation of it. Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work; their focus is primarily on giving an account of the major plot, characters, thesis, and/or main idea of the work. Most often, book reports are a K-12 assignment and range from 250 to 500 words.

Book reviews are most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works: magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. If you are looking to write a book review instead of a book report, please see the OWL resource, Writing a Book Review .

Before You Read

Before you begin to read, consider what types of things you will need to write your book report. First, you will need to get some basic information from the book:

You can either begin your report with some sort of citation, or you can incorporate some of these items into the report itself.

Next, try to answer the following questions to get you started thinking about the book:

As You Read

While reading a work of fiction, keep track of the major characters. You can also do the same with biographies. When reading nonfiction works, however, look for the main ideas and be ready to talk about them.

When You Are Ready to Write

Announce the book and author. Then, summarize what you have learned from the book. Explain what happens in the book, and discuss the elements you liked, did not like, would have changed, or if you would recommend this book to others and why. Consider the following items as well:

Revising/Final Copy

Do a quick double check of your paper:

8+ Book Report Examples & Samples in DOC | PDF | Ai | Pages | Google Docs

Free book report template.

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Biography Book Report Outline Template

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Sample Introduction

sample introduction

Non Fiction

non fiction

Summary Book Report

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How to Write and Format a Book Report?

What is a book report outline, high school.

high school1

Short Book Report

short book report

Tips for Writing a Better Book Report

Guidelines for Writing a Book Report

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The Upcoming

How to write outstanding college level book reports

how to write a book report college level pdf

Many generations of students from completely different areas have been facing the same common assignment: writing a book report. Book reports are very popular because professors like them, and they are not going to disappear anytime soon. However, students are rarely excited when they get a book report assigned. Book reports require you to not only read a book and understand its key concepts but also to provide a detailed analysis.

First, your book report must address the most important aspects, such as the title, information about the author, key information about the characters, and plot summary. These are the details that you would also provide in a book review, as well. However, a book report is different because you should also provide your personal opinion. The author’s point is usually presented in the form of a thesis statement and then supported with examples from the book. We decided to help you write an outstanding book report. Here are some useful tips.

Understand your assignment

First of all, you should know exactly what you’ve been asked to do. Make sure to clarify all the requirements, deadlines, and the necessary format. For example, if you’re being asked to write an essay, it can be an essay about the main theme of the book or about a particular character. Read your prompt carefully and don’t hesitate to talk to your instructor if you have any questions.

Read the book

Obviously, you need to read the book before writing anything about it. Many students prefer to skim through a book, looking for certain keywords and trying to select the most important passages. This is a very bad practice because, this way, you may miss something important. Make sure to dedicate enough time to reading.

Nathan Stewart, writer at LegitWritingServices advises: “Don’t copy information from book reports. On the one hand, it may seem that using reports written by professionals is a good idea, however you work will suffer from plagiarism issues.”

When reading a fiction book, make sure to write notes and focus on the following details:

When reading a nonfiction book, focus on the chapter titles to have a better understanding of the structure. Here are important things to consider:

Write an outline

We recommend that you write an outline before you start to write the book report itself. This way, it will be easier for you to create a proper report with a clear structure. Plan your report and think of what information you’re going to write first, and how you’re going to connect different sections so that your report will be logical and easy to read. Plan the introduction, body, and conclusion. Review your notes and select the best pieces of evidence to support your thesis statement.

Write a strong introduction

The introduction is one of the most important sections of a book report because it’s the first thing that your readers will see. Grammarly recommends writing a hook that will immediately grab the reader’s attention. A hook is basically one or two sentences that are aimed at capturing your reader’s attention. Write an explanatory introduction, mentioning the title of the book and the author. You should also explain what your report will be about. Even if you haven’t been asked to include a thesis statement in your report, having one will give you a certain advantage because your report will be more focused and specific.

Write body paragraphs

Use your outline and notes to write the main body of the report. Provide a brief plot summary and add your own thoughts, considering the themes of the book in the context of your topic and thesis statement. If it’s a nonfiction book, you should also explain the author’s thesis. Explain why the author uses a particular tone and style. Pay your attention to any symbols. Address the most important moments in the storyline, and use evidence from the book to support your own claims.

Write the conclusion

In the last paragraph of your book report, sum up your key points and the most important evidence. Some instructors may also ask you to restate the author’s name and the title of the book. The conclusion also gives you an opportunity to leave your readers with something to think about. For example, you can ask them a question related to the topic of your report, or consider the book in a broader context, drawing analogies between the events described in the book and important issues from real life.

Edit and proofread

Last but not least, you must edit and proofread your report, writing the final draft. Even the most talented writers need to write several drafts before their paper becomes perfect. We recommend that you never skip this important step. Take a break and then come back to your paper. Make sure that the structure is logically correct and all the sections are formatted according to the required style. Edit sentences that sound awkward or are hard to read. After this, proofread your report and fix any grammar or spelling mistakes. Also, don’t forget about the formatting of your paper. Use the standard MLA format in case your teacher hasn’t provided a specific format to follow.

Although writing a book report may seem to be a difficult task, you can make it much easier if you follow our step-by-step guide. Book reports allow you to demonstrate your understanding of various books and complex topics, as well as your analytical skills. We hope that our tips will help you write a book report that will impress everyone.

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