3 Tips for Writing a Good Book Report

Most students can't get their head around book reports. Can't you just talk about what happened in the book, and be done with it? Unfortunately, no; book reports require some creative thinking and writing skills that most students haven't fully developed. To overcome the annoyances of book report writing, however, students need only to remember three key tips. These tips will work to help any student overcome a book report, regardless of difficulty, length or nature of the report.

  • Do everything you can to understand the book. You won't be able to create a viable book report if you have no idea what the text is talking about. If you're halfway through Moby Dick and you still can't figure out who Ishmael is, you're in trouble. It's your responsibility to ensure that you have a thorough knowledge of the books events, characters, settings and themes. This may require slow, close reading; re-reading of difficult parts; note-taking, or outside assistance from explanatory websites. Sometimes, online sites like sparknotes can actually benefit your understanding of the text. Before you even think about putting pen to paper, make sure you understand the book!
  • Plan and outline. It's important to remember that a book report is just like any other written assignment - like any other essay. It requires an introduction, body and conclusion that effectively demonstrates a knowledge of the text and great critical thinking skills. To do this successfully, you must compose an outline. An outline for a book report is fairly simple. You create a bulleted list of general ideas. Start with your introduction. Afterwards, go to your first body paragraph - jot down quick notes or phrases on how you'll describe the text. Your body will also need to include note for a paragraph on your critical analysis of the text. Of course, you will also have to include a conclusion. Essay maps are also great for outlining book reports, but try whatever outlining technique works for you.
  • Proof and edit. Always, always, always go back and re-read what you've written. You can end up saving yourself from minor errors and tiny, catastrophic mistakes - such as identifying the wrong character or event in the wrong place. You can also re-read to determine the competency of your critical analysis and revise for better organization. The best writers always go back over their work when it's finished, so if you want the best possible book report, make sure to do the same!