How to Write a Book Report in 6 Steps

How to Write a Book Report

Learning how to write a book report is not just something that is going to help us out throughout the school. As we found out here at Basmo, writing book reports is also quite a great way to exercise our analytical and writing skills, and it can benefit us tremendously in retaining more information from what we read. 

Writing a book report is mostly a technical endeavor and requires generally very little creativity, which means you don’t need a special talent or inspiration to get it done. As long as you learn the rules and how to do a book report, you can easily take full advantage of the benefits it can provide for you.

What is a book report?

A book report is defined as an essay written with the purpose of discussing or describing the contents of a certain book. It is usually part of class assignments in school and serves the purpose of pushing students to enhance their analytical thinking abilities and objectively describe the information from certain books. 

The process of writing a book report is somewhat similar to writing a book review. What differentiates the two is the ultimate purpose of each essay. A book review is generally written to describe and evaluate to a certain extent the quality of the book in question, while a book report is strictly an objective description of the contents. The writer’s personal thoughts or opinions should not be a part of the latter, but the book report should accurately describe the particular book it is about.

Writing book reports is therefore a pretty handy exercise. You get to train your analytical skills, you push yourself to read with a higher degree of attention knowing that you will need to use the information you are reading later in the report, and you also exercise your writing skills to a certain extent. And what is even more important, writing a book report means you need to figure out a way to let your feelings and personal beliefs aside and focus on the objective information, which trains your mental abilities. 

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How to write a good book report?

Of course, there’s a difference between a book report and a good book report. A good report contains all the necessary information about the book, has a clear and easy-to-follow structure that actually makes sense, and provides the reader with a clear picture of what the book is about. Many of the skills required to write a really good book report come with practice and experience, so you shouldn’t be worried or disappointed if your first couple of reports are subpar. 

To make the process of learning how to write a book report the right way easier, here is our step-by-step guide.

1. Understand the assignment

Whether you need to write a book report as a school assignment, as a task from your book club, or because you want to exercise your skills, you need to have a clear picture of the expectations. If your assignment comes with instructions, you need to read and understand them before you even pick up the book. 

That way you can focus while reading on what you know you will need and you will have a clear picture of what your book report will need to contain. Even if it’s just you who is going to later use or analyze the report, you still need to make sure that you have a clear plan. 

2. Read the book

Once you have a clear picture of what your book report should look like, how long it should be, and what you should focus on, it’s time to start reading. As you would expect, you should pay extra attention to everything you are reading. This active reading process can be quite daunting, but it is essential for the success of your book report.

Reading actively or critically involves a lot more effort on your part. You should be constantly looking for important details, you should pay attention to the way the book is written, how the author sets the scene for the action, how suspense is built, and what themes appear in the book.

Trying to stay alert at all times while reading can be rather tiring, so feel free to take breaks as often as you need. Becoming aware of the small details as well as understanding the big picture and gaining a good understanding of what the book actually stands for and represents in its own genre is what can make the difference between a book report that is good enough and one that actually stands out as extraordinary.

3. Take notes while reading

Of course, remembering everything that is actually important while reading the book is not always possible. That is why taking notes as you read the book your report is supposed to be about is usually a good idea. That way you can jot down what you think is important, make notes of the important characters and events, and even start scribbling an outline for your upcoming report.

If this isn’t the first time you’re taking notes while reading, you probably already know that using a pen and paper is not ideal. Using a reading tracking app like Basmo is though.

Basmo comes featured-packed to the brim and one of the most relevant advantages it provides you with is the fact that you can easily take notes while reading with minimal effort. Every time a reading session is ongoing, you can simply start typing and your notes will automatically remain saved within the book you are reading.

Moreover, the notes can be easily formatted and personalized however you see fit. This means that they will be easy to read, well-organized, and relevant in exactly the way you need them to be. You can use different fonts, colors, and text sizes so the most relevant information is easy to find.

4. Write and stick to the structure

Now that the book is read and the notes are safely saved within the Basmo app (hopefully), it’s time to create a skeleton for the book report. What to write in a book report? What is the format of a book report?

To make sure your report contains all the necessary information, we found at Basmo that the below is the ideal book report format you should use.

Introduction: this should be an informative first paragraph, where you should mention the book title, author’s name, genre, when the book was written, and in a couple of words, what it is about. 

Describe where the action takes place: Next, it’s time to describe the setting – in what period the action takes place and where. Does that influence the way the story evolves or how the characters act? The “where” and “when” are essential in a book report, so make sure you include complete and accurate information in this section. 

Summarize the action: Now it’s time to talk about the “what”. Describe the action of the book, and what it is actually about in two or three paragraphs. You should make sure to include some details, but it’s not necessary to go too in-depth. A couple of essential pieces of information should suffice, you are not expected to actually write a summary of the book. 

Talk about the characters: Obviously, going over the characters is extremely important in a book report. You should mention who the main character or characters are, how they interact, how their personalities affect the way the story unfolds, and mention a couple of details about them. A short description of the important characters in the book is essential in your book report. 

Explore the themes: This is where you should dive a bit deeper into the meaning of the book. What themes does the author explore, and what genre is the book a part of? Mention certain influences that seem obvious when reading the book.

Comment on writing style: Analyze how the book is written, but stay objective. The purpose is not to share your personal opinion, but to provide a certain level of technical analysis of the text. Does the author use long, detailed descriptions? Is the book written in a dynamic fashion, with a lot of dialogue? Is it easy to read? This is also where you get to share some information about the writing technique, and the literary currents that seem to have influenced the author, without actually criticizing the work

Draw objective conclusions: In the end, you should add some final thoughts, in a concise and objective manner. 

5. Fill in the blanks and add quotes

You should never skip re-reading your book report to make sure you included all the necessary information. Also, it is always a good idea to add some quotes from the book wherever they seem relevant. Among the team members here at Basmo, the prevalent use of quotes in book reports is usually in the section where characters are described. 

Speaking of Basmo, one thing you should also know about the app is that it can be quite helpful when it comes to saving quotes too. It comes with a dedicated feature that not only encourages you to save your favorite quotes while reading with minimal effort but also makes it a smooth and fulfilling experience.

To save a quote, you can either write a note manually and convert it into a quote afterward, or you can use the integrated text scanner which allows you to basically scan a page of the book and extract the text automatically. The quotes can then be edited and formatted however you see fit, or you can even turn them into images to share on social media platforms. 

6. Proofread

Check your paper and make sure to correct any mistakes you may have made. Making spelling mistakes is generally inevitable, so never skip this step. 

How Basmo makes things easier

Using a reading tracking app like Basmo makes the process of writing a book report a lot smoother. As I mentioned above, taking notes while reading is amazingly simple and efficient with Basmo.

Moreover, with Basmo you can set a clear schedule for your reading sessions so you always remember to leave some time aside for your favorite activity. Not only that, but you can also keep a reading journal so you can constantly keep writing down the important information you think you will need for your book reports.

Basmo encourages you to read mindfully and to set clear goals for your reading habits. That way you will become the best reader you can be.

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Final thoughts

Learning how to write a book report is very important both for your education and as a mental exercise. Use Basmo to achieve the best results with minimal effort.

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