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Your Roadmap to a Better Book Report

What Is a Book Report?

❶Not Helpful 4 Helpful You'd also want to say whether or not you liked the book, and why.

What Elements Should a Book Report Include?




More often he is the invisible persona—invisible, yet not absent. The author leaves traces of himself throughout. Paradoxically, your understanding of the author depends on your deliberate detachment from the story itself to discover those traces.

Imagine standing very, very close to a large painting—inches away. Your focus is on blobs of color, but you are unable to identify the object represented. When you move back a few steps and alter your focus, the blobs take on a recognizable form.

In the same way, you have to draw back from the story to discern the purpose, ideas , and attitudes of the author. Author's purpose No one goes to the trouble to write something without purpose. Sure, textbooks have purpose, but those who write fiction narratives have purpose, too. Even fantasy writers have purpose. A book report should include your evaluation of whether the author succeeded in his purpose. Crichton seems not so much to be warning us of the evils of scientific inquiry as begging us, in a very convincing way, to exercise collective moral restraint on scientific research.

This writer would then go on to use quotations, examples, and evidence from the book to show why she believes this is Crichton's purpose. Author's ideas The author's ideas may be stated by the author himself in a foreword, or they may show up in the words of a narrator or a principal character.

The character Ian Malcolm, for example, is a primary spokesman for Crichton's criticism of post-modern science. Malcolm's words, below, express one of the ideas Crichton wishes us to consider:. They are focused on whether they can do something. They never stop to ask if they should do something.

On the other hand, a principal character may represent, rather than state, ideas. Hammond's visiting grandchildren, for example, might represent the oblivious, yet threatened, human populations of the mainland and the planet itself. When ideas are implied rather than stated, they are called themes. Author's attitudes Once you have identified what ideas an author is trying to examine, you must still determine what the author's attitude is toward those ideas.

An author's attitudes are revealed in part by the tone, or overall mood, of the work. In writing, as in conversation, tone is not so much stated as implied. In reading we depend solely on the emotional overtones of the words to infer the attitudes of the author.

For example, suppose you have determined that Crichton wishes to explore the idea of how private industry exploits scientific research. You must then determine, as well, what Crichton's attitude is toward this situation. Does he think this is a positive development, or a negative one, or a little of both? Does he think it is inevitable, or preventable? One way to figure out Crichton's attitude about this is to identify the tone he uses to tell the story.

We describe the tone of a book with adjectives, and more than one if necessary: For example, here is a statement using three different adjectives to describe Crichton's attitude toward one of the central problems in Jurassic Park:. Read through the assignment sheet carefully and make note of any questions that you have. Raise your hand during class or talk with your teacher afterward to go over any concerns.

Make sure that you know the required paper length, due date, and any formatting requirements, like double-spacing. Most book reports are direct summaries with only a few opinions mixed in.

In contrast, a book review or commentary is more opinion-driven. Read the entire book. This is the most important step. Before you even think about writing, sit down and read the text. Find a quiet place where you can concentrate on the book and nothing else. It helps to keep your paper in mind as you read, paying particular attention to any important plot points or characters. Try to find a pace that is comfortable for you. If you get distracted after 15 minutes, read in minute intervals.

If you can go an hour, read for an hour at a time. Make sure to give yourself enough time to get through the entire book. Take careful notes when reading. Keep a pencil, highlighter, or sticky notes handy as you read. If you prefer to work with your phone or a computer, open up a work document and take all your notes there. If you find something that you are curious or confused about, mark it. When the author discusses a major plot point or character, do the same thing.

Start identifying evidence and details that you can use in your report by bracketing or placing a note by quotations or good examples. This should be a paragraph-by-paragraph listing of how your paper will be organized. Expect that this outline might change a bit when you start writing. Writing often leads to its own realizations, so have a plan but be flexible. Also, check to see if your outline covers all of the major elements of the book, such as the plot, characters, and setting.

Outlining does take a bit of time, but it will save you time in the editing stage. Some people prefer to outline with pen and paper, while others just type up a list on the computer.

Choose the method that works the best for you. Intermix examples and quotations from the text. As you construct your outline, try to pair any general points of summary with specific details from the book.

This will show your teacher that not only have you read the book, you understand it. Vary your examples and keep your quotations brief. If it seems like every other line is a quote, try to dial back. Aim to include a maximum of one quotation per paragraph. Quotes and examples should still take a backseat your summary.

Instead, make sure that your report includes the most important ideas and gives your reader a real feel for the book. Open with an informative intro paragraph. In general, an introduction should be sentences long, though in rare cases they may be shorter or longer. Try to describe the locations mentioned in the book so that your teacher will know exactly what you are referring to. If the story takes place on a farm, go ahead and say so. If the setting is imaginary or futuristic, make that clear as well.

Include a general plot summary. This is where you describe exactly what happens when in the book. Your plot summary should mention any major events that take place in the book and how they impact the characters. This portion of your report should appear akin to a detailed outline of the book itself.

For instance, if the main character moves to Africa, you might describe what happens before the move, how the move goes, and how they settle in once they arrive. Introduce any main characters. As you mention each character in your report, make sure to introduce who they are and why they are important in the book. You can also devote an entire section of your report to describing the primary characters focusing on everything from what they look like to their most important actions.

Character introduction will likely happen in the same sentences and paragraphs as plot introduction. Examine any main themes or arguments in your body paragraphs. What are they trying to prove or suggest? That is why her main characters all seem happier and more grounded after visiting new places. For example, a book about a fictional underdog athlete could be used to encourage readers to take chances to pursue their dreams. Comment on the writing style and tone. Look over sections of the work once more and pay particular attention to writing elements, such as word choice.

Ask yourself whether or not the book was written in a formal way or more informally. See if the author seems to favor certain ideas and arguments over others. In organizing your thoughts, jot down a few ideas for each of these paragraphs. Every grade level and teacher has different requirements for book report content.

Introductory Paragraph Most book reports begin with the basic information about the book: The opening paragraph is also your opportunity to build interest by mentioning any unusual facts or circumstances about the writing of the book or noteworthy credentials of the author. Was the book a bestseller? Is the author a well-known authority on the subject? Start this paragraph by writing an overview of the story, including its setting, time period, main characters, and plot.

Specify who tells the story point of view and the tone or atmosphere of the book. Is it a creepy tale of suspense or a lighthearted adventure? In this paragraph, describe the main characters and identify the major conflict or problem the main characters are trying to solve.

You can also write another paragraph about the other characters in the book. Instead, focus on the main sequence of events. Instead, choose the main ideas and the ones most interesting to you. Did the book hold your interest? What did you learn from the book?


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Writing a Book Report Book reports can take on many different forms. Three types of effective book reports are plot summaries, character analyses, and theme tojikon.mlg a book report helps you practice giving your opinion about different aspects of a book, such as the author's use of description or dialogue.

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Book reports are popular assignments in school. Get the details on what these assignments entail and how to write a great book report.

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Rely on Your Writing Training to Write Book Reports Time4Writing’s online writing classes and one-to-one, teacher-led instruction help in building students’ writing skills. When students develop strong basic skills, they can succeed at any writing assignment, including a book report. Need advice on how to write a book report? In this article, you will find an easy writing guide and top tips from the professional writers.

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TIP Sheet WRITING BOOK REPORTS. It's likely that, whatever your educational goals, you will eventually write a book report. Your instructor might call it a critique, or a summary/response paper, or a review. How to Write a Book Report. Writing a book report can be a lot of fun. It gives you a chance to read a new book and then tell your teacher .