Writing a Book Report in Elementary School

As an elementary school teacher, I found that my students enjoyed going to the library and selecting their own novel to read on their own. In order to improve their ability to analyze literature, I often assigned a book report. Students appreciated it when I gave them the assignment ahead of time, so they knew what to look for in the book. They also were more relaxed about the assignment and did a better job when they knew what to expect. Parents can supervise their children to make sure they use their time wisely and include all the elements they need in the book report.


Reading the Novel

Ask the child to write down notes as they read their novel. It can help beginners or tentative students to use a graphic organizer to record their information. Make sure he knows the name of the book and the author, the names of the main characters, and major twists and turns in the plot. Writing down the page numbers for episodes in the plot or situations revealing the feelings of the characters can help students when it comes time to write up the report.

Elements of the Novel

Even in elementary school, students should be able to tell you about the characters, the setting, the plot and the theme of the novel. For older children, you may expect them to identify the genre of the novel. They should be able to categorize the book as a work of historical fiction, a mystery, science fiction, a western an action-adventure story or a fantasy.

Organizing the Book Report

Putting together an outline of the book report before writing it is a good way to stay organized. The first paragraph or introduction will give general information about the novel. Most book reports start off giving information about the book. The first paragraph will tell the title of the book, the name of the author, and perhaps when it was written. Students typically mention what the book is about, and make a brief reference to the main character and where the book takes place. Subsequent paragraphs can be devoted to characters, setting, a plot summary and themes.

The Conclusion

The last paragraph, the conclusion, connects the book to the audience and shows why they should care about what happened in the book. It can also compare the novel to other novels by the same author, or similar novels by other authors. The conclusion is the place for the student to express his or her own opinion of the book and explain how it related to his own life. The child may find the book was fast-paced and interesting, heart-wrenching or funny. In addition to a written book report, many teachers require some kind of illustration, and often the student is asked to give an oral presentation.