Book Report Writing: How to Create an Outline

How to Write a Book Report Outline


Many students think that writing a book report or any other kind of written task is a daunting task. But it’s not true and with proper tools and knowledge, you can even turn a difficult task into a pleasurable one. Speaking of tools – one of the most important ones is an outline. College book report outline can make writing a book report much easier and save you a lot of precious time.

Book Report Outline College Level: Getting Started

All you need to have to get started is a book that you need to work with, a pencil and a piece of paper or a computer. College book report outline should come first. Title of your report should be written on the top of the page, then you should proceed to write a statement, which should uncover the main idea of the book and the main things that you will cover in your report. After doing this you should make a bullet-point list where each item is connected to the opening statement and ideas which you wanted to discuss over the course of your book report. In case you have additional subtopics that you want to cover you need to make more complicated lists where one idea is divided into a certain amount of subtopics. The outline should end with your thoughts about the book and explain how the ideas that you have discussed have led you to this conclusion.

How to Write a Book Report College Level: Getting Down to Writing

After you have completed your outline you can go to writing a book report itself. Look at the bullet points and start to extend the ideas that are expressed there. Be concise and clear and don’t try to fill your report with filler phrases just to meet the word-count requirements. Every sentence should be logical and carry the essence that’s related to the thesis statement that you have mentioned in the beginning of your report. Continue until you have written enough for every point. When you have the outline, you will find it very easy to organize your thoughts and writing because you already have the plan.

Tips on Writing an Excellent Book Report

  • Have an objective. The objective is your main idea. Your main point that you have in mind after reading a book and which you’re ready to defend. In some cases, tutors offer specific questions that they want you to answer as a part of your assignment and sometimes you have to come up with ideas yourself. Objective usually comes to mind while you’re reading the book.
  • Have the tools you need by your side when you read. I’m talking about a pen, paper, sticky-note flags etc. If you’re relying only on “mental notes” you will achieve little, because “mental notes” don’t work.
  • Read the book attentively. Reading is not just rolling your eyes through words and sentences but trying to grasp the essence and meaning that stands behind these written symbols. Read the book attentively and try to keep your focus on each storyline incorporated in the book. This will help you greatly when you will start writing.
  • Don’t forget about sticky flags. When you encounter the clues, mark that page with a sticky note. Mark all that you find interesting.
  • If patterns or themes emerge – mark them. Your assignment may be connected with understanding certain patterns within the book. In order to understand them, you have to notice them first, so when you begin to see the emergence or characteristics of certain pattern – mark that page and leave your comment on a sticky note.
  • Label sticky flags. If you notice the appearance of a certain symbol several times – mark it. For instance, if blood appears in a number of scenes you may start marking these scenes with “b.” It becomes easier to navigate the book when you have notes like this.
  • Work on paragraph ideas. The paragraph consists of the topic sentence, explanation and transition to the next paragraph. You can start with a topic sentence and transition, and then complete the paragraph with explanations/examples. All paragraphs should have these basics.
  • Review and re-arrange as many time as necessary. Don’t expect that your paragraphs will be a genius right after you first wrote them. Most probably they will look ugly, but you don’t have to worry – it’s normal. They will get more and more attractive with each subsequent review and rearrangement. Polish them until you like what you see.
  • Make sure that you have a killer introductory paragraph. The introductory paragraph is very important because it makes the first impression on the reader and if this impression is boredom, then they simply won’t read it till the end. Therefore try hard to make the introductory paragraph as catchy as possible with an outstanding thesis statement.
  • Reread the whole thing. When you finish writing your book report, know that your work is not done yet. Until you check your paper for grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors, you shouldn’t consider your paper finished. Another thing that you should look at is structure and the overall flow of your book review. You should make sure that your book review has an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, that all paragraphs are connected and the flow of thought is smooth throughout the whole paper.
  • Don’t forget about college book report format. Ask your professor what should be the format of book report that you’re working on. Sometimes grades of the students get decreased only because of the poor formatting. Don’t let formatting stand in the way of getting a good grade.

Follow these tips and you will never face problems when writing a book report.

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