Book Reports For Middle and High School Level Students

For both middle and high school students, book reports are a regular part of the usual workload for school.  Training students in both reading comprehension, descriptive writing and critical thinking, it’s a useful form of essay that will be used for years to come.

Book reports and book reviews are two different types of essays.  They are similar in most ways, but are set apart by their general focus.   Book reports tend to go heavy on the description, while book reviews tend to put their weight on persuading the reader.  One narrates with the goal of illumination; the other critiques to either encourage or discourage you from picking it up.

Whenever you are tasked with writing a “book report,” always clear up whether it’s a report or a review, so that you may begin your work with the right direction in mind.  Most teachers will also want it in a specific format (so that they can have an easier time grading you) so be watchful of those guidelines.  Finally, I implore you to use a good writing checker to guarantee as few mistakes as possible.

Like other essays, book reports will need an introduction, a body and a conclusion.  The intro should provide the details of the book, including the title, author and other publication information.  Additionally, include one to two sentences that encapsulate the “main point” of the report.

The body will comprise the meat of the report and is usually written in two parts.  The first provides a brief summary of the material – the author’s main purpose and the main ideas it promotes.  For works of fiction, always include a short synopsis of the plot; for nonfiction, provide a general idea of the author’s major arguments.

The second part of the body consists of your own take on the author’s ideas.  How successful is the book at achieving its main purpose?  Is the writing clear and effective?  What are the strengths and weaknesses?  For book reviews, go heavy on this section; book reports, on the other hand, can choose to go lightly.