How to Write a Book Report

When I was in school, I viewed book reports as both blessings and nightmares. On the surface, they seemed so easy. The teacher would say, "Pick a book. Read it. Then write 2-3 pages about it." Simple enough. Except that it wasn't. If you're like me, those two to three pages seemed like a mile. I could maybe write one paragraph, but after that my mind would go blank. Was there really nothing else I could say about the book I had just read?

But now that I moved from writing book reports to assigning them to students, here are some basic tips on how to write a better book report. The first thing to do is check with the teacher about the assignment. Now whether that's asking the teacher a question or re-reading the assignment sheet, make sure that you know exactly what to do. Frankly, it's hard to write a book report when you don't know what you're supposed to do. But once you know what you need to include in your book report, the assignment is quite easy. When I assign a book report, I ask for three things.

The first is a quick summary of the story. This is a concise and tight narrative of the plot of the story. But try not to ramble on too long. To me, this the least interesting part of the book report as chances are most people already know the plot of the story. The next part is a discussion of what the reader thinks of the story. This is higher level thinking than just presenting the summary.

Also, it goes beyond, "It was good. I liked it. I recommend it and give it five stars." It's about what the story made you think as you read it, and more importantly, it's about your reaction to the book as a whole. The last thing that I look for in a book report is relatability to the story for others. In essence, why should other people, who may not share your interests, care about the story? It's one thing to know why you enjoy the story, but it's completely something else to be able to tell others why they might enjoy reading it too. This takes the ability to think beyond oneself, but if you can basically sell why this story is so good to others, you'll increase the interest in you and the story. I hope to go into these three elements of a good book report in the future, but remember, if all your teacher wants is a summary, that's fine. Just do the summary.

Of course, it never hurts to at least be thinking about the other two elements of a book report. You never know when you'll need to impress your teacher. Thanks for watching. I hope these tips help you in your reading and writing. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Don't forget to subscribe for more book report tips as well as weekly episodes of Minute Book Reports.