Book Report Template: Guidelines to Writing a Winning Book Report

A good book report lists the themes and characters and gives brief and accurate descriptions of all. It also gives a thorough sketch of the plot and some of the ideas and patterns that are revealed.

What is a Book Report?

A book report is used by a teacher or professor to guage each student’s understanding of a book. The idea is to see how deeply the student read into the book and how well they comprehended some of the more challenging concepts and ideas. Some students will see the book more literally than others who will instinctively come up with stories and assumptions to fill in the gaps left by the author:

This character has a drinking problem derived from their father’s alcoholism. This character’s motive is to turn her best friend into a future husband.

Searching for book report template? Here is a great one below.


A good book report lists the themes and characters and gives brief and accurate descriptions of all. It also gives a thorough sketch of the plot and some of the ideas and patterns that are revealed. The student may also talk about how the the themes of the book apply to their life, or what it makes them curious about.

A stellar book report is something different altogether because it takes into consideration the book in time and space. And what this means is that it looks at the time in which the book was originally written, and what the author’s life was like. They consider this when they talk about the elements of the story because some themes, characters and plot lines that appear in historical literature are seen very differently today.

Anatomy of a Compelling Book Report


Consider the first paragraph of your essay to be quite a task-master. It demands that your reader catch up on quite a few background details and some of your initial thoughts even before they know anything about the plot of the book.

Treat your readers with care but don’t write down to them. Just be as clear as possible in one paragraph and definitely leave the reader wanting more. Just because it’s a teacher reading the piece doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be entertained. Failing to keep your teacher interested in what they are reading—especially after reading the work of all your peers—is just as bad as writing the entire thing in 1s and 0s.

Some ways to create interest in the introductory paragraph:

  • Stress how important the issues are that the novel address
  • Create some mystery that won’t be revealed until reading to the end of the plot sketch.
  • Pose a question that you considered while reading the book and don’t reveal your conclusion until the very end of the report.


Introduce each of the main characters and list a few of their character traits, habits, choices and actions from the story. You will know if a character is too inconsequential to list if you can’t list more than one or two facts about them. Play detective and try to infer one or two facts about the characters based on the information you are given. Look into the real motives of each character, in contrast to what their words were.

Plot Sketch

Here is our quick-and-dirty way to build your plot sketch paragraphs.

  • Break the story down to the beginning, middle and end.
  • Break each of those into smaller “scenes” or “acts”, like in a play.
  • Jot down three main actions that occurred in each part of the story.
  • Use this as the skeleton for a focused and complete plot summary.

Note: The plot summary can be thorough but don’t get bogged down in the details.


The conclusion is a way to neatly wrap up your final thoughts about the book. If the book has inspired you in some way or answered a question for you, this is the place to lay that out. Use the conclusion as a bow on the package.

If you are interested in how to write a conclusion for a book report, read the article below.


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