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Writing a Book Report - First Steps

Where do you begin?
If the book has not been selected by your teacher, then find a great book (at last count there were 3,856,445,951 of them!) Browse the book reports already saved on the Bookhooks system. Use the search engine at the top of the Browse Reports screen. Search for a particular author whose books you enjoy. Set the search field to 'Keyword' and try looking for reports featuring the words 'dragon', or 'hockey', or maybe even 'travel'.

Plan 2: Get lost!
... in a library or bookstore. Dip your nose into a few books. Ask the librarian to help you find books of a particular genre. Scan library and school summer reading lists for your age and interests. Ask your friends and classmates for their recommendations. Good books have a way of leaving an impression, and I'm sure your friends can direct you to a great author or series.

Warning: What NOT to do!
The Internet makes it very easy to cut and paste the work of others into your word processor, change a few words and submit that work as your own. That is called plagiarism, and it is a very bad academic habit to take up. The reports on the Bookhooks system are fully searchable by teachers. In fact, there is a tutorial for teachers on this website to help teachers find recycled ideas. Be original!

Paige's Guide to Reading a Book for a Book Report
Reading a book with the purpose of writing a report is different than reading for pleasure (that is not to say that it can't be pleasurable!) Be sure to plan ahead and read a little bit each day. This will prevent you from having to cram all of your reading and writing into the few short days before your book report is due. You also tend to have a clearer idea of what happened, as the story has time to "settle" in your mind. If you need help staying focussed, then create a reading schedule and tackle 2, 5, 10 or 61 pages per day. Set reading goals on your calendar or in your school agenda.

Keep a reading journal. This way, you can make notes of the basic elements of your book—plot, setting, characters, timeline, etc., as well as write down questions that arise in your reading. Your notes will be helpful in allowing you to remember details when the time comes to write the report. Write down your reactions to specific events in the book. For example, what was the book's climax, and how did you react? How did the event affect the characters? By making notes, you are making it easier to organize your thoughts when it comes time to write your report.

Details are great, but your teacher has probably read the book, and doesn't need to read a plot summary of the book. Remember that a book report serves to give an overview of the plot and character and setting and themes, as well as some of your own thoughts and ideas. Have fun with your report! Be creative!

Let's Get Writing....