Create a First-Rate Book Report
1. Read the book
This is an obvious, but very important, first step! Finish reading the book before you begin your report. After all, the ending may surprise you — and you don't want incomplete information in your project.
2. Pick a medium
When you finish reading, think about how you can best present the book to the class. Maybe you'll make a wanted poster for the book's villain or use a shoebox to create a diorama of your favorite scene. Use these suggestions to spark your own ideas:
- Design an alternate book jacket
- Make up a mock magazine interview with the author
- Craft a movie poster
- Mix a CD of songs for the book's soundtrack with liner notes explaining why you chose each song
- Create the front-page of a newspaper with headlines about the book
3. Identify the information
Characters: who is in the story
Examples: The people, animals, robots, aliens, or wizards
Setting: where and when the story takes place
Examples: Aunt Mae's farm in 1982, last summer at acting camp, 1950s London, a lake house in Michigan in present day, or 300 years from now on Mars
Genre: what kind of story is being told
Examples: Mystery, fable, historical fiction, or sci-fi fantasy
Point of view: how the story is being told
Examples: First person — the narrator is also a main character who refers to himself as "I." Third person — the point of view switches around and the characters are "he" or "she."
Tone: why the story is being told
Examples: Serious tone for readers who want to learn about the Holocaust or humorous tone for readers who want a silly book about surviving middle school
4. Find an interesting aspect of the story
This can be anything! Think about your favorite character or the last scene in the book. What sticks out in your mind as something you have a lot to say about?
5. Write 5 ideas about the aspect you have chosen
Once you've decided on a part of the story that interests you — say you think the dialogue is really funny — sit down and write at least 5 different thoughts about it. This helps you to pick out specific parts of the story and these details will give you examples when you create your project.
6. Have an opinion
What did you like? What didn't you like? Remember that you don't have to enjoy a book to do a good report on it. While your book project shouldn't just list complaints about the book, your teacher will probably appreciate the thought you put into your opinion. Challenge the author's original ending. Explain why you would have written it differently. If there's a character you didn't like, tell why you would've left her out completely. Keep notes on these thoughts as they come to you.
7. Compare something in the book to your own life
Find a way to relate to the story. What traits does the main character have that you have too? Do any of your friends or family members remind you of the characters? Have you visited the location of the book's setting? If the book is fantasy, would you want the same kind of superhuman powers that the characters have?
8. Decide who else would like this book
Would you recommend this book to a particular friend? Why? Answering this kind of question can show you the audience the book is geared to. It also helps you and your friends figure out books to recommend to each other for your next report!
9. Wrap it up
Brainstorm what else you want to include, such as great illustrations, who told you about the book, if the author wrote anything else, and where this book ranks on your list of favorites.
10. Spin all the separate pieces into the project
Now it's time to go back to step #2: Pick a medium. You're now ready to put all of the information you gathered into an interesting, entertaining, and above all, informative book report. Good luck!