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How to Write a Book Report in English – The Best Step by Step Guide

For most college students, writing a book report is not an easy job. It always scares them when students are asked to write a book report as an assignment. Because it requires them to concentrate for long enough and think deeply and analytically about what they have read in the book. But you do not need to worry because if you follow a proper step-by-step guide, you will soon learn how to write a book report easily.

What is a Book Report?

A book report is a certain kind of assignment that students are asked to write after reading a book. It is a piece of writing that summarizes any book and tells about the theme, characters, plot, and background of the book briefly. So, you can write a book report for both fiction or a non-fiction book. Besides, there are several ways you can present the information which totally depends upon your personal choice.

Moreover, writing a book report is helpful in improving student’s reading skills and their analytical skills. Besides, they can also learn how to present their point of view while writing a book report.

Book Report vs Book Review

Even though a book report and book review may sound the same, they are very different pieces of writing. A book review is more of an in-depth analysis of a book than a book report. So, book reports are usually less detailed. The important differences between a book report and a book review are:

  • A book report is usually 200 to 250 words long while a book review could be 1000+ words long. Besides, the length of a book review depends upon the difficulty of the literature of the book.
  • A book report is usually an assignment for lower academic level students such as K-12. On the other hand, a book review is usually assigned to college students.
  • A book report features the book’s main details such as the theme, the key characters, and plot. But a book review has more details such as the writer’s personal opinions too.
  • However, the format and the structure of both of them do not differ a lot. They both include the setting, the plot, the author, main characters, publication, theme, and genre.

How to Write a Book Report

Now that you know what a book report is and what are the differences between a book review and a report, you are good to start learning how to write a book report. So, follow the steps below to learn how to write a book report.

Step 1: Read Carefully and Take Notes

The first thing you do is select a book you want to write a report on. In most cases, the teacher assigns the book to you. Otherwise, choose a book that interests you. Next, start reading the book carefully, highlight key ideas and take notes. You can note down all the important points, ideas, and quotes on a piece of paper. This will be very helpful once you start writing your book report.

Moreover, writing down important quotes and points will make your book report more vivid. Besides, this will also help you share your point of view easily and in a better way.

Step 2: Create an Outline

Creating an outline is extremely important for writing an impressive book report. And it helps you to stay organized while writing your book report. Thus, after you have read your book and taken notes, you are ready to start writing your book report. But first, you should create the outline. An easy and simple outline for a book report is given below.

  1. Introductory paragraph
  2. Summary
  3. Character details
  4. Plot details
  5. Conclusion and personal evaluation

Step 3: Write Your Book Report

Once you have successfully read your book, took notes, and created an outline, you should start making the first draft of your book report. Meanwhile writing concentrate on the points and notes that you have taken. Besides, it is okay if you make spelling mistakes or there are any syntax errors.

Introductory Paragraph

The first paragraph of a book report includes all the basic information such as the book title, the author name, the genre, the publication, the year it was published, and much more. This paragraph is also essential as it can help you to build the interest of the reader. Therefore, try to include any interesting or unusual facts about the book or the author if there are any. For instance, the reader would want to know if the book was a bestseller or if the writer has any specialty in the subject.

Moreover, you can also add your personal view about why you chose to read this particular book because book reports are personal too.

What is the Book about?

Next, it is time to tell the reader that you have read the book and have been able to understand it well enough. In the body of your book report, you will explain whatever you have read in the book but briefly. This is where your notes will be most helpful. Because they will give you a roadmap as to what to include and what is essential to include in the book report. The body of a boo report includes:

  1. summary
  2. character details
  3. plot details


You begin writing the body of a book report by giving an overview of the book. It includes the plot of the story, setting, time period, and the main character of the book. Besides, you also tell your reader the tone of the story in the summary; whether it is an adventure, science fiction, or thriller.

Character Details

Next, you should tell your reader who are the characters of the book and what issues or problems they have faced in the story. And you can also describe the characters by telling your reader their main strengths and weaknesses you have learned while reading the book.

Plot Details

Meanwhile writing your plot details, do not write everything. You just need to include plots and events that are essential to mention. Otherwise, a background to the story would also be enough. So, focus on the main events that take place in the story. Moreover, do not forget to explain the literary devices as well.

Conclusion and Personal Evaluation

The last paragraph is quite fun to write. Because it is where you include your personal views and thoughts. Here you can add your personal critic including the strengths and weaknesses of the book. Moreover, you can also detail such as what are your takeaways from the book, did the book provoke any certain emotions in you (in the case of fiction), and much more.

Step 4: Finally, Review and Edit

Lastly, this is where you refine your draft. Reread and check your book report for errors and gaps that you need to fill. You can check if you have correctly quoted the quotes or if the details are correct or not. You can also ask your friends to help you in this process. They can read your draft and give their feedback. So, that you can fill the gaps in your draft before you hand in your book report to your teacher.

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