Core Tips for Writing a Book Report Outline

Every student may once need to write a book report. This type of essay is sometimes considered to provide a challenge for pupils. The learners do not exactly know how to start an essay or what to write about. So, you should use all your critical thinking and try to express your thoughts comprehensively and appropriately. A right idea is to analyze the text deeply and try to perceive the author`s words.

Of course, at the very beginning, the children may have some assistance in the form of the supplementary helpful worksheets or several prompts in order to describe the character and some details of the necessary piece of literature. However, while progressing, the pupils should learn how to write such an essay on their own.

In this article, we are going to provide a brief overview of the most common parts of a book report. Moreover, you may find out a wide range of tips and tricks to improve the process of writing a book report. We hope that this guideline may come in handy and help you create a successful essay.

The Cornerstones for Writing a Book Report Outline Correctly

Indeed, you ought to read a book in detail at first- you may take notes of the brightest and the most considerable paragraphs too. This may help you keep in mind the numbers of the pages and the passages that can be really useful while writing a book report. It is highly recommended beginning the work by creating a clear outline. This step might organize the direction of your thoughts for writing the whole paper.

Book Report Outline

You may find easy to follow one of the accepted schemes of writing a book report outline. Look at the next steps, please:

  • the prewriting phase;
  • the process of writing;
  • revising and editing;
  • the final part – publishing

During the first step, prewriting, you can use an outline in order to structure the flow of your thoughts and ideas. It is a so-called plan that mainly consists of five basic concepts. Each idea should be written from a new paragraph.

Please, note that every teacher (as well as a grade level) has got different requirements and special standards concerning the content of the book report. So, you need to check all the necessary things, including the smallest peculiarities, the formatting style (APA, Harvard, etc.) and so on. Review your teacher`s norms and instructions in advance.

Let us make a visual presentation of the basic parts of the book report outline.

  • the introductory part;
  • summary of the book;
  • the details of the book – characters;
  • the details of the book – the plot;
  • the paragraph of evaluation and conclusion;
  • revision and editing.

For each of these paragraphs write down several ideas while creating an outline. And now it`s time to concisely describe the points above.


Mainly, the book reports start with the basic info about the book, such as the following one: the title of the book, the author, the genre of the book, the data on the publication (the publisher, the number of the pages, the year of publishing).

You can mention any peculiar or unusual facts, noteworthy circumstances about the writing of the work, the writer`s exceptional, extraordinary or remarkable credentials, any awards of the book, etc. in the opening paragraph. Thus, you have an excellent chance to catch the reader`s attention and interest.

The book may be a bestseller, the author can be a famous authority in the area of the subject. You may identify the reason for writing the book, as it is suitable here. The book reports are supposed to be personal, too, so, you can explain your choice of the book to read. For instance, you may be extremely inspired and interested in the topic.

The Content of the Book

The body of the book report (paragraphs two, three and four) are for the description of what the book is about. This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that you have read and realized this literary work.

Suggesting that this is the fiction book, you can find several helpful writing strategies below:

  • Summary: This paragraph is usually started with an overview of the story (the setting, the period of time, the main characters as well as the plot). You should include the specification of the point of view (who tells the story), define the tone of writing and the atmosphere of the literary work. You may have other valuable details in the text.
  • The Details about the Characters: You ought to describe the main characters of the book in this paragraph. Specify the key conflict (or the problem) that the main characters are striving to solve. You may include another paragraph about the other (minor) characters if their role in the plot is significant enough. You might want to emphasize some crucial points in this way. Here you may write some more information about the characters` relationships, background, and every other point that is really important and influences the story.
  • The Details about the Plot: You don`t need to make clear or figure out all the details of the plot. However, try to focus on major events. Get concentrated on the sequence of important occasions and highlight the plot from the rising actions to the moment of culmination as well as the resolution of the conflicts. It is a good option to point out the use of any literary devices in the book. If you have been studying them in class, it is really a useful practice for you to find and determine the author`s techniques.

Writing a Book Report on Non-fiction

If you need to write a report on a factual text or a biography, you can describe the subject of the book as well as the author`s viewpoints in the body of the book report. The usage of the chapter headings may help you make the presentation of the author`s arguments and ideas in an orderly fashion. Similar to fiction books, it is not necessary to cover every author`s argument. You may specify the most crucial events and provide important ideas logically.

Make a Conclusion and Personal Estimation

This final part is considered to contain your personal critical analysis of the book. In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the book? What are your own observations? Was it easy to maintain interest while reading the book? What new did you discover with the book? How did it affect you emotionally? (for a fiction book) Were you persuaded by the author`s arguments? (for a non-fiction book, for example)

In this section, try to keep balance and add credence to your opinions, so, provide examples of events or quotes from the book in order to support your statements. You may also write a brief paragraph, describing your unique and honest opinion about the literary work as well as giving your personal recommendations whether the book is worth reading or not and why (to your mind).

The Step of Revision, Editing, and Publishing

After making a draft of your book report, you may be ready to continue with these three stages: revising, editing, and publishing. For revising the book report, you may read it aloud, if you want, you might ask other people (your teacher, a friend) about the feedback, for example, etc. If necessary, specify any details by asking your teacher.

While editing, check your grammar, spelling, punctuation, the correctness of the usage of some book quotes and the title; make sure that you know all the guidelines for the format. Remember to specify the required format and style of writing, follow all the special features and peculiarities of writing a book report according to your grade. Ask your teacher about any unclear requirements.

Make a thorough revision and pay attention to every single aspect. Clarify any ambiguous statements and proofread your work carefully and scrupulously in order to create a quality paper. Once again, remember to define all the teacher`s directions. Find out about the fixed templates with the specific header and footer rules, the format of the title page, student information, etc.

Book Report ‒ a Type of an Expository Essay

In general, the book reports are expected to be written as an expository essay. Nevertheless, such a report may be written in other forms. Sometimes, the teacher gives the task to take a standpoint while writing an essay. In this case, you should explain something and give examples. Accordingly, such prompts may need another writing style- a persuasive one.

The pupils can also be assigned to write a book review in order to convince their classmates to read a particular book or not. There is a tip not to uncover the ending when writing a book review. Anyway, you should specify all the nuances by asking your instructor.

Summing Up

So, you should study further all the credible sources of information and examine the topic of writing a book report outline in detail. Note that this guideline is only a generalized overview, so find out any necessary info by asking your teacher. Extensively learn all the requirements concerning you individually, start practicing and develop your writing skills. Good luck to you!

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