How to Write a High School Book Report Outline

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By Lori Wade

Writing a book report for high school students can at times be a difficult task, whereby they are expected to write a critical analysis of a book they have just read. It is an exercise for evaluating the book you’ve just read to show your understanding. In the early days in school, elementary students are given easy to comprehend books to read and guided in writing reports. By the time the students are in high school, they are expected be to write book reports on their own.

Each tutor has their own instructions and preferences when they are guiding students to read and write reports. There is no universal format when it comes to reading, understanding and interpreting what and how students read. Although that is the case, the following guidelines should help you get a footing in the effort of writing a crisp book report.

How to Write a Book Report

You need first to read the book and understand the content well before you can write a good book report for it. If the choice of the book is yours, you should consider selecting a book that you’ll have fun reading. When reading, always have a pen and paper by your side to write down page numbers, chapters, and topics, and take short notes about interesting passages.

Title Page

Every report that you write in high school must have a title page. Format your title page according to the requirements that your teacher asks you to write in, like MLA. Write your name and title of the book and your class.


In this section, you will provide basic information about the book and a synopsis of what the report will be about. You will include the following information in this section:

  1. Title of the book which must be underlined and the name of the author
  2. Publication Information such as the publisher, year of publication, and number of pages
  3. Genre of the book
  4. A brief introduction to the book and the report, typically a 1 to 2 sentence paragraph.


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Here, you will work on two sections. The first is an exploration of what is contained in the book and the second part is your opinion and insight into the book and its success rate.

When you are working on a book report, you will be required to follow the different guideline for fiction and nonfiction books. Although they will be structured differently from each other – you will start from a common point where you discuss the author’s purpose and themes in the book and then break away to tackle each genre independently.


For fiction and other creative and imaginative books, start by providing a brief account of the setting, the perspective and the characters in the book like the protagonist and antagonist and the major characters as well. You will also discuss the mood or tone of the book.

Write a brief summary of the plot where you will include the major events and the order in which they occur in the book. You should discuss the climax and the resolution of the book and some literary strategies such as foreshadowing. This is applicable to reports but is different in book reviews, whereby you should be on the lookout not to give away details pertaining the plot or the ending of the book.


For reality writing, give an overall overview of the topic, main points, and arguments that come out in the book. Provide the thesis and the major conclusions of the book. You are not supposed to summarize all the chapters in the book or every perspective, just explore the main ones and those that are significant to the book, or interesting to you.

Analysis and Evaluation

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This is the section in which you analyze and critique the book. In this section, you can write your opinions and bring out your insight into the book and present your arguments, but you will be required to provide explanations and evidence from the book to support your view. Try to balance your opinions not showing a clear inclination towards one side.

When writing this section, the body of the report, the following aspects should be lingering in your head:

  • Your general response to the book; exciting, dull or moving
  • The writing style the author used; powerful, efficient, complicated, or beautiful
  • For a nonfiction book, assess the qualifications author on the subject written. Are you in agreement with the arguments and conclusions of the author?
  • Was the objective of the writer achieved?
  • Can you recommend the book to other readers? If so, Why? If not, Why not?
  • What are the strong points and weak points in the book?

The Conclusion

When concluding your report, briefly pull your thoughts together by summing up the impact the book had on you while reading. You may state the impression that the book gave you, or you may place emphasis on what you want the reader to know about the book. It’s in the conclusion that you’re actually free to include your own views and attitudes.

A good way of writing the conclusion of your report is by looking at the conclusion of the book and borrowing from it. Fuse it with your own thoughts and be aware that other readers might differ from your perspectives.

Revising, Editing, and Submitting

When you finish writing your book report, you are ready to enter this stage. Follow the guidelines of proofreading any written material. Read over your report correcting common mistakes and enriching the details of your report. Read out aloud to yourself and to a friend and ask for feedback. Give it to a senior student or your parent. As you revise the report, ensure that you’ve adhered to the guidelines of the book quoting and that you’ve written the book titles and names in the correct formatting style that you’re writing in.

Ensure that you finish your report on time so as to spare some more for revising and editing before you submit your final report and you’ll be assured of a good score. You can present a rough draft to your teacher before the final submission date for their opinion on whether you are writing in the proper context or where you need to modify and improve on.

Extra Practice

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Take extra lessons online offering writing coaching and practice the skills you learn. This way you will improve your basic writing skills which will ensure you can tackle any writing assignment including book reports and reviews. Read other book reviews online and have a grip on how reports and reviews are professionally presented.


Writing book reports can be fun especially for the books that you find interesting to read. You will find all not assignments are of books fun to read. With enough practicing and several assignments successfully completed, you will tackle even the hardest and most annoying books. Remember to always start with the high school book report outline.

High school book reports are a good way of preparing for the more intensive and involving college report writing. Please let us know if there is any tip that we didn’t discuss in the article, which has helped you write grade A+ reports, and we shall include it.

BIO: Lori Wade is a freelance content writer who is interested in a wide range of spheres from education and online marketing to entrepreneurship. She is also an aspiring tutor striving to bring education to another level like we all do. If you are interested in writing, you can find her on Twitter or Google+ or find her on other social media. Read and take over Lori’s useful insights!


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