Book reports are an efficient way for English teachers to check whether their students have read and understood the assigned book. Teachers consider this a great way for students to absorb the plot of the book.
Whatever the writing reason, book reports have been around for a long time and make a good way to remember some of the main events or characters of a certain book. Although it may seem like a simple task, writing a book summary takes time and concentration.
A summary is a simplified description of the plot providing the reader with a comprehensive understanding. A good summary requires the reader to take notes of the main characters, plot twists, and important ideas portrayed in the book. These notes will then be used to compose the different parts of the book report summary.
However, we were not all gifted for a neat and well-written book summary – which is why there are always options such as custom writing online tools.
Is a Book Summary Necessary?
Students consider book reports to be a waste of time, but there are several factors why we are assigned book reports:
- The summary helps improve your writing skills
- Writing a summary can help you compare key concepts from two or more books
- Writing a summary helps us remember the book’s key elements
To write an effective book report summary and master the art of this unique format, here are some tips to guide you.
1. Take Notes
When reading a book, always annotate the important takeaways. Highlight and note anything you find interesting or you think might be important. Then, write down your thoughts in a notebook as you are reading. Writing down notes will save you the time of going back and forth searching for the details you wanted to mention in the first place.
While reading the book you’ll report on and summarize, also make a list of the major and minor characters. The same goes for noting major themes and descriptions of places. Keeping track of the chronology of events can also be useful as well.
2. Organize Your Thoughts
Go through your notes and organize them in a logical order. The title and the author of the book should be mentioned clearly. The central idea of the book should be presented in no more than one sentence.
3. Keep It Brief
Check the length requirements and then plan your summary based on the space you can work with. A summary should be a short overview of the book, not a rewrite. Write a brief, concise, and to the point text, avoiding repetitions and redundancies. Also, avoid writing a very short or a very long summary. The former will give the impression you didn’t read the book and the latter – that you are not writing a summary.
4. Leave Out Opinions
Your personal opinion on the book has no place in a book report summary. You are not to be judgmental of the characters or events, but rather, to give a condensed view of the most important information.
5. Let Your Train of Thought Flow
The summary has to be written in the present tense. It should also be carefully organized in several paragraphs if one does not suffice. You must also pay attention to the flow of thought and how it should resemble that of the plot. Use transition words to connect sentences and build momentum.
6. Organize the Structure
Start the summary with a few sentences on the major plot. Then, use the next few sentences to describe the events and characters and the way the story builds. The final part of the summary should portray the key idea of the book. The very last sentence should reflect the main message or theme of the author.
7. Keep Your Audience in Mind
When writing the book report summary, keep in mind that your audience may not have read the book yet. Book endings should not be revealed to the audience, so try to find a way to convince them to read the book. The ending of your summary will depend on the nature of the story.
8. Is the Author’s Point of View Conveyed?
Conveying the author’s point of view is an important part of the book report summary. Try to put yourself in the place of a person who hasn’t read the book. Read the summary and check if you have managed to convey the main theme and created a balance when presenting all important events.
Before submitting your book summary, make sure to edit and proofread it several times to eliminate all errors. You can even ask a friend or family member to read it and give you feedback. This way you will be sure that you managed to portray the main theme without giving out the ending of the book.