Book reports are a conventional assessment task in learning institutions.

They are some of the most common college assignments.

Although writing a book report could be challenging, with the right skills and guidance it can be an easy and rewarding task.

Before you start the actual writing, it is important to understand what are book reports.

Book Report

So, what do book report entail?

How do you define a book report?

Usually, a book report is:

A description and a summary of a fiction, notification work, or a biography. In some cases, it will require your personal evaluation of an entailed text.

Note that book reports are some of the most common assignments that you are likely to come across.

It is therefore advisable that you start to develop requisite skills on how to write a book report for college.[nbsp]

Types of Book Reports

When it comes to how to write a book report, it is important to understand the nature of the required report.

Usually, there are three categories of book reports that include:

1. Character analysis,

2. Plot summary, and

3. Theme analysis.

Note that all these types of reports require your opinion on the different elements of the book, including use of literary tools like dialogue, symbolism, imagery, metaphors, allegory, and motif.[nbsp]

1. Character Analysis

This type of report explores the actions as well as personalities and physical traits of different characters in the book. It looks at how they affect the book’s plot.

Key areas to focus on in character analysis include:

i. The positive characteristics of the characters.

ii. The dress code of the characters and its impression on the reader.

iii. Fatal flaws among the characters that expose them to constant trouble.

iv. The way the characters express themselves through dialogue, including their choice of words and their impact on other characters. You should use examples of words and dialogues.

v. A compilation of how the characters shape the plot.

2. Plot Summary

This type of report entails a critical analysis of the book’s unfolding story.

When doing so, you are required to clearly state your opinion about the story by explaining why you find it unrealistic, compelling, or silly.

You should as well examine the transition from the story’s background, to rising action, through climax, then falling action, and finally resolution. Note that throughout the analysis, you should use numerous examples.

3. Theme Analysis

This type of report focuses on evaluating themes in the book.

You should select a theme or several themes prominent in the book, show their power and how they have been advanced.

Doing this requires you to understand the specific theme and how it is represented in the book. You should understand that there are a wide array of themes in books and literary works that may include:

lovelost honorcourage and heroism
immoralitygood vs. evilmanipulation
lost loveempowermentindividual vs. society
power and corruptioncoming of ageidentity crisis
deathsurvivalchaos and order

When exploring themes, you should do the following:

i. Clearly state what theme you intend to cover in the report.

ii. Use numerous quotations and examples to amplify the theme and relate them to the story in the book.

iii. Explain every quotation or example used and its direct connection to the particular theme.

iv. Briefly explain how the theme affected your view about related issues and how it made the book more interesting or otherwise.

Note that a book report could encompass a combination of all the above types (character analysis, plot summary, and theme analysis). [nbsp]

Tips on how to Write a Book Report

Writing a book report should be fun.

As earlier noted, book reports could be different dependent on whether it is a theme analysis, a plot summary, or a character analysis.

However, there are numerous attributes that should appear in all reports.

Such attributes could be realized by following the below tips.

1. You should include relevant book details

Such details include the book and author’s names.

Also, you should explain why you think the book is interesting for analysis, the relevance of the title, and why you decided to analyze the book if there were alternative books.

2. You should clearly stipulate the main characters

This is a basic rule on how to write a book report.

You should clearly highlight the characters that the story revolved around.

In doing so, you should explain whether there is one main character or several of them. Also stipulate the names of these characters and their appearances.

3. Describe the setting in adequate details

It is required that you describe the place within which the story unfolded.

Whether it is a battle field, farm, city, outer space, or in the ocean, you should make sure that the report clearly states the locality of the story. [nbsp]This should be detailed enough.

4. Clearly explain what unfolded in the book

You should clearly explain the story in the book.

This entails analyzing what happened. Per se, you should explain whether the characters were trying to find a solution to a problem, involved in a conflict, or participating in an adventure.

When explaining the story, you should describe what unfolded at the beginning, what happened at the middle, and what ensued at the end of the book.

5. Provide a personal opinion of the book

You should give an objective personal opinion about the book.

This entails stating whether you liked the book or not, whether it made you feel sad, happy, excited, disappointed, angry, or confused.

You could also state whether you would recommend the book to other readers.[nbsp]

Steps on how to Write a Book Report

As earlier mentioned, your book report could assume different approaches. For either of the approaches, you can adopt several steps that would help you realize quality work.

These steps are as discussed below.

1. Reading the book

This is a very important step. It entails reading through the book to understand the respective themes, characters, and plot.

It is highly recommended that you thoroughly read through the book from the preface to the conclusion/last chapter.

2. Taking notes

As you read through the book, take notes. You should keep sticky notes or use word documents to take notes on major themes, characters, and key points in plot development.

The notes should include quotes on themes, characters, and plot. You should note interesting, contrasting, vague ideas, unique scenarios, and defining character traits.

3. Creating an outline

This is a very essential step on how to write a book report. It marks the beginning of the writing process.

It centers on various areas that your book report should focus on. An outline should appear as illustrated below.

  • Introduction
  • Book summary
  • Details (plot)
  • Details (characters)
  • Details (themes)
  • Personal evaluation and conclusion

You should generate several ideas for each of the above parts.

4. Compiling ideas

This step entails combining the different ideas into one coherent report. The writing process is supposed to cover all the areas in the outline.

These areas should be addressed in respective paragraphs as explained below.

Sample book report format


This paragraph should include basic information such as book title, book’s genre, author, and publication details (publisher, publication year, and number of pages).

You should make it catchy by highlighting some interesting details in the book or the expertise of the author.


It should be about 3 paragraphs and should include details about the book’s content.

The first paragraph should be a summary of the story focusing on the setting, the time it’s unravelling, main characters, and the main idea.

You should also point out the entailed point of view, tone, and atmosphere of the story.

The second paragraph should look into the characters in detail. Herein, you should identify the main characters, their unique attributes, and their roles in the story.

The third paragraph should focus on the plot by outlining the major events and their sequence.

NB: The paragraphs primarily comprises the structure and format of a book review. Other parts of the format include book report title page and reference list. [nbsp]

Evaluation and Conclusion

This is the last paragraph and you should critique the book.

In this, you should evaluate whether the book was able to capture your interest, its strengths and weaknesses, strength of its arguments, its key lessons, or how it affected you.

You should provide an objective opinion for potential readers.

5. Rewriting

This is the final step on how to write a book report. It entails going through the report to ensure that it’s devoid of grammatical, factual, and formatting mistakes.

You should go through the report for at least three times, correct all the mistakes, and make sure that it is coherent.