In some classrooms, the mere mention of the phrase “book report” brings groans of dread. Visions of endless writing and tedious presentations feel overwhelming to students. But reading an awesome book and telling others all about it can be one of the great pleasures in life!
Here are 12 inspiring projects that will be sure to get your students excited about their next book report.
1. Watercolor Rainbow
This is great for biography research projects. Students cut out a photocopied image of their subject and glue it in the middle. Then, they draw lines from the image to the edges of the paper, like rays of sunshine, and fill in each section with information about the person. As a book report template, the center image would be a copy of the book cover, and each section would contain information such as character names, theme(s), conflict, resolution, etc.
SOURCE: Let’s Explore
2. Pizza Box
Another idea that works well for nonfiction and fiction book reports. Each wedge of the pizza pie tells part of the story.
SOURCE: Education World
3. Book in a Bag
This project really encourages creative thinking. Students read a book and write a summary. Then, they decorate a paper grocery bag with a scene from the book, place in the bag five items that represent something from the book, and present the bag to the class!
SOURCE: Sunday Dispatch
4. File Folder Board
Also called a lap book, this easy-to-make book report hits on all the major elements of a book study and gives students a chance to show what they know in a colorful way.
SOURCE: Appletastic Learning
5. 4D Triorama
Who doesn’t love a multidimensional book report? This image shows a 3D model. Follow the link to the lesson to see how students can glue 4 triangles together to make a 4D model.
SOURCE: Swarthmore Education
6. Clothes Hanger Mobile
This creative project doesn’t require a fancy or expensive supply list. Students just need an ordinary clothes hanger. The body of the hanger is used to identify the book and the cards on the strings dangling below are filled with information like characters, setting, and a summary.
SOURCE: Performing in Education
Students flip out for this cool ball-shaped book report. SO much information can be covered on the 12 panels. This one allows students to take a deep dive in a creative way.
SOURCE: Educator’s Life
8. Stellated Dodecahedron
This 3D project is a little more complicated than the ball described above, but just imagine the constellation of stars hanging from your classroom ceiling after the students present their report! Instead of simply decorating each panel as shown above, students can write important facts and information on each surface (when it is flat, of course) then construct their story star.
SOURCE: Teach Beside Me
9. Paper Bag Book
This clever book report is made from ordinary paper bags. Stack the paper bags on top of each other, fold in half, and staple the closed off ends of the bags together. Students can write, draw, and decorate on the paper bag pages. They can also glue information on writing or drawing paper onto the pages. The open ends of the bags can be used as pockets to insert photos, cut-outs, postcards or other flat items that help them tell their story.
SOURCE: Relief Teaching Ideas
10. Charm Bracelet
From the author of this lesson by Crayola: “What a charming way to write a book report! Each illustrated bracelet charm captures a character, an event in the plot, setting, or other detail.”
11. Cereal Box TV
This book report project is a “low-tech” version of a television made from a cereal box and two paper towel rolls. Students create the viewing screen cut out at the top, then insert a scroll of paper with writing and illustrations inside the box. When the cardboard rolls are turned, the story is told.
SOURCE: The Cheese Thief
This website offers templates for 265 editable trifolds that students can use for creatively presenting their book report. You find the template with the right number of sections and make copies. Students cut out the design and cover each section with the required information.
SOURCE: Tangstar Science
How do your students present book reports? Add your creative ideas to the comments below.
Your Roadmap to a Better Book Report
A Book Report Outline and Tips for Students
Why do book reports strike terror in the hearts of most students? Simply, writing a book report is not easy. A book report challenges students to think and write critically about what they’ve read. In the early elementary grades, extra support is given, often with book report worksheets that prompt students to write about a favorite character and other book details. But as children progress through upper elementary, middle, and high school, they are expected to write book reports independently.
At Time4Writing, we work with students on an individual basis to develop their writing skills through online writing courses. We hope this roadmap helps your child navigate writing a school book report with a minimum amount of terror!
How to Write a Book Report
Before you write, read. There’s no substitute for reading the book. Choose a book you’ll enjoy—reading should be fun, not a chore! Read with a pen and paper at your side. Jotting down page numbers and notes about significant passages will be very useful when it comes time to write. Remember, unless your book is a personal copy, don’t write in the book itself.
Use a Book Report Outline
After reading the book, you are ready to start the writing process. When writing a book report, or when answering any writing prompt, you’ll find writing easier if you follow the proven steps of the writing process: prewriting, writing, revising, editing, and publishing.
In the first step, prewriting, you’ll plan what you want to say. An outline is a great prewriting tool for book reports. Start your book report outline with the following five ideas. Each idea should correspond to a paragraph:
2. Summary of Book
3. Book Details: Characters
4. Book Details: Plot
5. Evaluation and Conclusion
In organizing your thoughts, jot down a few ideas for each of these paragraphs. Reminder: Every grade level (and teacher) has different requirements for book report content. Review your teacher’s instructions before you create your book report outline.
Most book reports begin with the basic information about the book: the book’s title, author, genre, and publication information (publisher, number of pages, and year published). The opening paragraph is also your opportunity to build interest by mentioning any unusual facts or circumstances about the writing of the book or noteworthy credentials of the author. Was the book a bestseller? Is the author a well-known authority on the subject? Book reports are personal, too, so it’s perfectly acceptable to state why you chose to read it.
What’s the Book About?
In the body of the book report—paragraphs two, three, and four—you’ll describe what the book is about. This is your chance to show you’ve read and understood the book. Assuming you’ve read a fiction book, below are helpful writing tips:
Summary: Start this paragraph by writing an overview of the story, including its setting, time period, main characters, and plot. Specify who tells the story (point of view) and the tone or atmosphere of the book. Is it a creepy tale of suspense or a lighthearted adventure?
Character Details: In this paragraph, describe the main characters and identify the major conflict or problem the main characters are trying to solve. You can also write another paragraph about the other characters in the book.
Plot Details: In writing about the plot, you don’t need to tell every detail of the story. Instead, focus on the main sequence of events. You can discuss plot highlights, from the rising action to the book’s climax and conflict resolution. Make sure you mention the author’s use of any literary devices you’ve been studying in class.
Book Reports on Non-fiction
If you are writing a book report on a biography or other factual text, you’ll want to devote the body of your book report to a description of the book’s subject and the author’s points of view. Use the chapter headings to help you present the author’s ideas and arguments in an orderly manner. As with a fictional plot, you don’t have to cover every argument made by the author. Instead, choose the main ideas and the ones most interesting to you. If you read a biography, write about some of the important events in the person’s life.
Personal Evaluation and Conclusion
You’ll like writing the final paragraph because it is here that you’ll be able to offer your own critique of the book. What are the book’s strengths and weaknesses? Did the book hold your interest? What did you learn from the book? If you read a work of fiction, how did the book affect you? If you read non-fiction, were you swayed by the author’s arguments? Try to be balanced in your opinions, and support your statements with examples from the book. Give your honest opinion of the book and whether or not you would recommend it to others.
Revising, Editing, and Publishing
After you’ve drafted your book report, you’re ready to follow the next three steps of the writing process: revising, editing, and publishing. Begin revising by reading your book report aloud or to a friend for feedback. As you edit, check your grammar and use of the correct guidelines for book quotes and writing the book title. Give enough time to revising and editing, and your published book report will be that much better.
Book Reports: A Type of Expository Essay
A book report is usually written as an expository essay, although it can be written in other forms. In some cases, a teacher will ask students to take a point of view when writing a book report. Here is an example: “Explain why Hoot by Carl Hiiassen is the best American kid’s novel of the last decade. Please use examples.” This type of writing prompt requires a persuasive style of writing. Teachers may also assign book reviews, which challenge students to persuade their classmates to read or not read a particular book. If writing a book review, don’t reveal the ending!
Rely on Your Writing Training to Write Book Reports
Time4Writing’s online writing classes and one-to-one, teacher-led instruction help in building students’ writing skills. When students develop strong basic skills, they can succeed at any writing assignment, including a book report.
Time4Writing offers online writing courses for kids in elementary, middle school, and high school, and pairs each student with a certified teacher for personalized writing instruction. Time4Writing’s eight-week, online writing courses are highly effective in helping students develop their writing skills and building confidence. Find out how Time4Writing’s online writing classes can make a real difference in your child’s writing.