Book Report – How to Write a Good Book Report

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

How to Boost Grades and Improve Academic Writing

Writing a good book report can be a challenge for many students. Knowing how to write book reports is often essential for succeeding in English classes.

English classes can be daunting if students are unprepared for the coursework. Having a good understanding of each teacher’s requirements will make the learning process successful. Knowing what writing style to use helps students write better papers. Academic writing is integral not only to English classes but to every aspect of life, and the ability to write a good book report is an important part of learning to write well.

What is the Difference Between a Book Report and a Book Review?

Writing a book report is not at all like writing a book review. Book reviews rely heavily on opinion and don’t often include outside research. A book report is academic writing focused on the examination of a book. Remembering the difference between the two is important because turning a book report into a review can lower a student’s grade. If you’re struggling with these assignments, consider seeking guidance from a cheap essay writer who can provide assistance and ensure you understand the distinctions clearly.

Focus the book report on examining the social or political impact of a book, the influences the author used for writing the book, or the historical period in which the book was written. Book reports are much less focused on individual opinion, and rely on facts and interpretations of literature for their validity.

Read the Entire Book and Take Notes

Whether the book report is over an assigned text or a book picked by the student, it is impossible to write a good report on a book the student hasn’t read. Jot down or underline significant quotes while reading the book, and make note of important plot points or facts.

Take notes in a notebook, on note cards, in the margins of the book, or on sticky notes left on the relevant pages. Leaving notes in their original context will create reminders about the book that can be useful when writing a book report. Use notes to shape the book report’s format when it is time to write it

Book Report Format – Include Outside Research in Academic Papers

Writing academic papers can be challenging without researching the book. Many books have papers that have been written about them; some books have other books devoted to studying their impact on literature. Using these resources can add merit to the report, but all research must be done carefully.

Checking the validity of resources is vital. Wikipedia is a starting point for research, but more effort should be put into getting information than just using one entry. Find scholarly articles or books written on the student’s book, and use these resources to add credibility to a book report. Having external research can only help improve the final grade.

When using outside research in academic writing, citation is required. Plagiarism is usually punished by a failing grade; in some cases plagiarism results in failing the class. Using quotes, footnotes, end notes or in-text citation is a good way to show research and avoid getting penalized for stealing work.

Choose a book report format that includes quotes from outside research, and the book itself and allows space for analyzing the information and reflecting on the book.

Book Report Requirements for Students

Writing an opinionated summary of a book –a book review –will not satisfy most teachers’ guidelines. If a teacher has an explanation of what type of book report they want, use it to help format the paper. Failing to follow a teacher’s instructions is as detrimental to a grade as writing a bad report.

Use a teacher’s guidelines to form the structure of a book report and to get thoughts, notes, and information organized. In analyzing what a teacher wants in an academic essay, students will be better able to formulate the organization of their essay and choose a good writing style.

Here is a list of possible requirements that could guide the process:

  1. Book Selection: Choose a book that is appropriate for your reading level and interests. It should be challenging enough to allow for deep analysis and discussion.
  2. Introduction: The introduction should include the title of the book, the author’s name, the publication date, and a brief background about the author. It should also include a thesis statement that outlines what the report will cover.
  3. Summary: Provide a comprehensive summary of the book. This should include the main plot, setting, and characters. Avoid spoiling the ending or key plot twists.
  4. Character Analysis: Examine the main characters in the book. Discuss their personalities, motivations, relationships, and how they change throughout the story.
  5. Setting: Describe the setting(s) of the book. How does the setting contribute to the overall mood or theme of the story?
  6. Themes and Symbols: Identify and discuss the major themes and symbols in the book. How do these elements contribute to the overall message or meaning of the story?
  7. Personal Opinion: Share your thoughts and feelings about the book. Did you enjoy it? Why or why not? Make sure to support your opinion with specific examples from the text.
  8. Conclusion: Summarize your thoughts and the points you’ve made in your report. Restate your thesis statement and make a final comment about the book.
  9. Citations: If you used any sources other than the book itself, make sure to cite them correctly.
  10. Presentation: Your report should be neatly typed or written with correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It should also be organized in a logical manner that makes it easy for the reader to follow.
  11. Length: Check with your teacher for specific length requirements. A typical book report might be between 500-1000 words, but this can vary.

How to Write a Book Report

Book reports are written in several different ways. Many teachers will allow a summary of the book to be included in the report; this should generally not exceed two paragraphs, depending on the length of the paper. In addition to a summary, book reports should choose a topic to examine from the perspective of the book; this will differ based on the type of book.

If the book is fictional, examine some of the prominent themes in the book in the book report. Analyze symbols and how they relate to the story and the author’s message regarding social issues, big life questions, or the human condition. Write an argument book report defending an interpretation of the book.

For nonfiction, use the book report to address the book’s thesis, analyze the arguments put forth by the author and examine their accuracy, or focus on one aspect of the writing that is particularly relevant to the book’s message.

One of the most important parts of writing a good book report is choosing a topic that will be interesting for the student; having an interesting subject will make the creative writing process smoother and easier for the student.

Sample of a Book Report

Book Report: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee


“To Kill a Mockingbird” is an acclaimed novel written by Harper Lee. Published in 1960, the novel quickly became a classic of American literature due to its profound exploration of human morality, and the themes of racism and injustice.

Plot Summary

The story is set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression. The plot revolves around the young protagonist, Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus Finch, who is a highly respected lawyer. The story unfolds from Scout’s perspective as she recounts their experiences when Atticus defends a black man, Tom Robinson, who is unjustly accused of raping a white woman.

Character Analysis

Scout Finch is known for her curiosity, intelligence, and tomboyish nature. As the narrator of the story, Scout provides a unique perspective on the events that unfold, often commenting on social norms and expectations.

Atticus Finch, the moral backbone of the novel, is portrayed as a man of integrity and fairness. He teaches his children the importance of empathy and understanding, often saying, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”

Tom Robinson, a crucial character, symbolizes the black community’s struggle against racial prejudice. Despite his innocence, he is convicted, underscoring the deep-seated racial bias of the time.


The novel explores several themes, with racism and injustice at its core. It provides a stark commentary on the societal prejudices that lead to innocent people being targeted because of their race.

Another significant theme is the loss of innocence. As Scout and Jem navigate through the harsh realities of their society, they are forced to confront the world’s cruelty and injustice, leading to their loss of innocence.

Personal Opinion

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a profoundly moving and thought-provoking book. It successfully portrays the racial tensions of the time while delivering timeless lessons about empathy, justice, and understanding. Harper Lee’s storytelling is compelling, and her characters are well-developed, making the reader truly invested in their journey.


In conclusion, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a must-read for its poignant depiction of racial inequality and the moral complexities of human nature. Its enduring relevance makes it a classic piece of American literature.

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