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Tips on Writing a Middle School Book Report

by Soheila Battaglia

If you are in middle school, then chances are you're going to write a book report. If you have read the book and taken notes, writing the report shouldn't be too hard. Just remember to organize the paragraphs and to give your own thoughts about the characters and the plot.

Read the Book

The first step of writing a book report is reading the whole book. If the quantity of reading feels overwhelming, break it up. Read a little bit each day. Don't save all the reading for the last minute because it will be hard to focus on what's important in the text. Also, re-read parts you don't fully understand and read any background information that the book provides about the author or the story.

Take Notes

While you read you should take notes, either in the book or on a separate piece of paper. Write down interesting quotes, questions about parts you don't understand and unfamiliar vocabulary that you can look up later. Record page numbers in case you need to cite them in your report or refer back to them yourself later. Taking notes helps you understand the book and distinguish between the most and least important parts. It also reminds you of the details of the story when you're writing the report.

Organize

You should plan your book report before you write it to make it well-organized. The report should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The introduction should provide a brief summary of the book. The body should discuss the setting, the characters and their decisions, problems and solutions in the plot and your reactions. The report is a combination of descriptive writing and critical thinking, so the whole paper can't be just a retelling of the plot.

Give Your Thoughts

While the report might include a summary, it also needs your opinions and reactions to the book. Questions you can answer include: the genre of the book, if you liked the story and why, how it made you feel, why the characters made the decisions they made, anything in the story that reminded you of your own life and what you learned from the book. Writing your reactions shows the teacher that you thought about the book.

About the Author

Soheila Battaglia is a published and award-winning author and filmmaker. She holds an MA in literary cultures from New York University and a BA in ethnic studies from UC Berkeley. She is a college professor of literature and composition.

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