5 steps to organize a school book report

For many students, whether bilingual or not, book report writing often seems like a dreaded task. The unforeseen homework that has to be done in a limited amount of time is a daunting thought. The deadline alone can be a stressful reminder of the book report yet undone. Although it may seem like a never-ending assignment to write book reports, an organization is key to a great book report. When writing the next project, try to follow these 5 steps to an excellent composition:

1. Brainstorming

When you brainstorm, ideas are formed when you spend time just writing about your topic. For instance, writing down several ideas randomly can help to figure out the topic of interest or subject. It can also help to show the type of book report to write. To help start some creative ideas, use the local or school library to browse the books, periodicals, or Internet.

Ideas may be produced best if they are organized in different sections.

Graphic Organizers

Using graphic organizers can help you brainstorm. By making different diagrams or grids on a sheet of paper or electronic device, many different ideas can be categorized according to the type of information being shown.

For instance, dates and locations can be categorized in events while quotes, articles or books published, or photographs can be categorized in works.

2. Introduction

Whether the book report is about a biography or a description about an event, the introduction should be as descriptive as possible. In this part of the book report, 3 to 5 sentences should be able to show the type of book report, the name of the person or place, and the tone of the paper.

Some examples of the type of book reports are biographies, historical events, chronological order of science events, or anecdote of a personal event.

Examples of tone of writing could be compare and contrast, list of sequential events, or simply a factual narration of a personal experience. This section of the book report should be kept short, concise, and precise. Good choices of words are action verbs and specific nouns. Be aware not to shift verb tenses from past to present tenses.

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3. Main Idea

The main idea of any paragraph should specifically state the topic of interest and its purpose. The subject matter should clearly be stated with specific nouns and action verbs. The main idea of the book report should be a short complete sentence.

In rare cases, it is possible the main idea can be in a couple of sentences. Try to keep the focus of the topic in one sentence. Make sure to address the purpose of the writing about the topic at beginning of the introduction. This should lead to the next section of the book report.

4. Key Points

The supporting points in any book report should range between 3 to 5 key points, if possible. If it is necessary, expand the supporting points in more detail. This section should be the body of the book report.

Key points should be relevant and concise. A good way to organize supporting details could be using an outline form. Many word processing programs can now help to organize book reports.

But book report writing and outline writing should be kept as different documents to avoid any confusion. The supporting points should come from the research on the subject.

It is possible to include photographs, diagrams, or sketches within this section. However, these illustrations should be relevant to the subject. Other good examples of supporting evidence could be quotes from the subject or about the topic of interest.

Proper reference technique should always be followed according to official academic citation formats like Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA). A reference list should be compiled at the end of the book report.

5. References

Many art works, photographs, historic dates and events, quotes, Internet sites, and articles are used within the book report as supporting evidence. They should be cited clearly. There are many ways to cite a reference. The best format to follow for a book report is the MLA or APA.

These guidelines have very simple steps to follow to cite specific works. References are also very widely used in the academic arena. Many of these guidelines now have specific rules to better reference Internet and social media sites.

Even though students are solely responsible for writing book reports, parents and caregivers should encourage students to complete the assignments on time. Adults should motivate the students to finish and help with any questions or concerns they may have when writing book reports or homework.

To help parents and caregivers in the quest of book writing or homework, visit Kids Health and their homework tips, which are accessible in English and Spanish.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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